Discuss: Political Madness All the Time


Lynna is your curator. How are you all holding up, America? Not well, I guess, since this is the hardest working thread ever.

(Previous thread)

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    BLF @ 3

    For feck’s sake, NO-ONE IS TRYING TO “IMPOSE” THE BURKINI”; instead A BIKINI OR ONE-PIECE IS IMPOSED.

    In the U.S., an “Islamic foot-bath” (turns out it was really a janitor’s floor-based sink) in a government building causes right-wing Christians to shriek about the creeping menace of “Shariah Law.”

    In France, a Muslim woman wearing a full body swimsuit rather than near nudity (or, knowing France, total nudity) at the local swimming hole sends their local secularists and feminists into a Islamophobic conniption fit, fearing that one-day they’ll be forced to cover up.

    Seems like insane, racist paranoia isn’t confined to just one nation or side of the political spectrum.

  2. says

    “#Unwantedivanka: awkward moment at G20 prompts slew of Trump parodies”:

    Ivanka Trump’s prominent role at the G20 summit over the weekend, and her presence at the Korean demilitarised zone with her father, has inspired a slew of parodies under the hashtag #unwantedivanka.

    Following an awkward encounter in Osaka, in which Trump appeared to muscle in on a conversation with world leaders, the president’s daughter and senior White House advisor has been photoshopped into significant moments in history, ranging from the signing of the US declaration of independence to the Japanese surrender at the end of the second world war.

    The flurry of #unwantedivaka tweets came after a callout on Twitter from US journalist Erin Ryan….

    Images and more at the link. For the US, this summit was ridiculous, embarrassing, and awful.

  3. andiek712 says

    A political cartoonist in New Brunswick, CAN, is fired for a political cartoon featuring Donald Trump playing golf while a father and daughter drown trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border. Donald Trump isn’t just making your country a laughingstock, and he isn’t just affecting your country. Akira is right: “insane, racist paranoia isn’t confirmed to just one nation or side of the political spectrum.”

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/cartoonist-fired-nb-newspapers-trump-cartoon-1.5196179

  4. says

    ProPublica – “Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes”:

    Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.

    In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. One member posted a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.” Another responded with an image and the words “If he dies, he dies.”

    Created in August 2016, the Facebook group is called “I’m 10-15” and boasts roughly 9,500 members from across the country. (10-15 is Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody.”) The group described itself, in an online introduction, as a forum for “funny” and “serious” discussion about work with the patrol. “Remember you are never alone in this family,” the introduction said.

    ProPublica received images of several recent discussions in the 10-15 Facebook group and was able to link the participants in those online conversations to apparently legitimate Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents, including a supervisor based in El Paso, Texas, and an agent in Eagle Pass, Texas. ProPublica has so far been unable to reach the group members who made the postings.

    ProPublica contacted three spokespeople for CBP in regard to the Facebook group and provided the names of three agents who appear to have participated in the online chats. CBP hasn’t yet responded.

    “These comments and memes are extremely troubling,” said Daniel Martinez, a sociologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson who studies the border. “They’re clearly xenophobic and sexist.”

    The postings, in his view, reflect what “seems to be a pervasive culture of cruelty aimed at immigrants within CBP. This isn’t just a few rogue agents or ‘bad apples.’”…

    More at the link. AOC tweeted:

    This just broke: a secret Facebook group of 9,500 CBP officers discussed making a GoFundMe for officers to harm myself & Rep. Escobar during our visit to CBP facilities & mocked migrant deaths.

    This isn’t about “a few bad eggs.” This is a violent culture.

    9,500 CBP officers sharing memes about dead migrants and discussing violence and sexual misconduct towards members of Congress.

    How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?

    PS I have no plans to change my itinerary & will visit the CBP station today.

  5. says

  6. says

    Hunter Biden Hits Trump Over Investigation Threats: ‘F*ck You, Mr. President’

    Talking Points Memo link

    Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, has a few simple words on […] Trump’s threats to investigate him: “Fuck you, Mr. President.”

    […]

    After noticing a helicopter flying near his wife’s apartment, Biden said that he told his wife, “I don’t care. Fuck you, Mr. President. Here I am, living my life.”

    Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have attempted to smear Joe Biden by claiming he used his power as vice president to shut down an investigation into a Ukrainian company at which Hunter Biden served on the board.

    Trump told Politico in May that he believed it would be “appropriate” to ask Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate Hunter and Joe Biden.

    The Ukrainian government said that it wasn’t investigating the Biden family, even though Giuliani had been pushing them to do so […]

    Giuliani also planned to travel to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Hunter from a former diplomat, then abruptly cancelled the trip.

  7. says

    Trump demands tanks on the Mall as part of his quest to make the Fourth of July all about himself

    […] Trump’s plans to make Washington, D.C.’s Fourth of July celebration all about him are moving forward, though it’s hard to really call them plans. More of a spoiled child’s wish list that government officials are trying to figure out how to deal with. With just days to go, the National Park Service and the Pentagon are grappling with Trump’s demand for tanks stationed around the Mall.

    Trump has already demanded, and will get, a flyover by military aircraft and a Blue Angels show. Tanks have been on his wish list since he saw a Bastille Day parade, but the tank-filled 2018 Veterans’ Day parade he wanted didn’t happen amid concerns about cost and damage to District streets by the heavy vehicles, both relevant concerns this week as well. One reason everything is so confused three days ahead of the planned event is that Trump himself is micromanaging it to fit his ego, rather than designating a professional event planner to set the details.

    This whole thing is so egregious on so many levels. As the head of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks told The Washington Post, “It’s irresponsible to ask the National Park Service to absorb the costs of an additional and political event when there are so many unmet needs in the parks.” You know, needs like dealing with wildfire damage and accommodating hundreds of millions of visitors.

    Then there’s the wannabe military dictator flavor to it all, with Trump taking a longstanding D.C. celebration, adding huge amounts of military hardware, and making it all about himself. It’s grotesque, it’s irresponsible, and it’s more than a little scary.

  8. says

    Today’s Guardian British politics liveblog charitably describes Boris Johnson’s responses during a call-in as “characteristically vague.” Speaking, he says close to nothing, and the coherent statements he does produce are lies.

    Kirsty Blackman (SNP) called Johnson and Hunt the “Thelma and Louise of Brexit.”

    From a Johnson press release ahead of the call-in: “Only Boris Johnson is committed to leaving the EU by 31stOctober. By delaying making a decision about no deal preparation, Jeremy Hunt is failing to provide the certainty that our businesses deserve and finally deliver on the result of the referendum once and for all.” The majority of the people didn’t vote to leave with no deal in the referendum, and people were repeatedly lied to about the possibilities of a good deal.

  9. says

    Update to #8 – AOC:

    Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities.

    It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress.

    I brought it up to their superiors. They said “officers are under stress & act out sometimes.” No accountability.

  10. says

    Homeland Security admits it’s using abhorrent conditions at detention centers to deter migration.

    It isn’t working and no one wins.

    Poor conditions including overcrowding, flu outbreaks, and a lack of clean clothes are just par for the course at an El Paso border station, according to a report released Monday by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General. In the report, border patrol argues that these conditions are necessary to stem the flow of migrants to the United States.

    […] only four showers were available for 756 immigrants. Additionally, over half of the immigrants were being held outside in the Texas heat, while the immigrants inside were being kept in cells at over five times their capacity. One cell meant for a maximum of 35 people held 155 adult males with only one toilet and sink. The cell was so overcrowded that the internal temperatures reached over 80 degrees and the men were unable to lay down to sleep […]

    None of this information, however, was new to DHS. The agency had the information about the conditions at this border patrol station for months and described it in the report as “chaos.” In spite of this, nothing was done. In fact, the report clearly outlines that the poor conditions thousands are facing at the hands of the U.S. government are actually the desired outcome.

    […] the report states, laying bare the Trump administration’s true motives: maintaining horrible conditions at border patrol facilities is necessary to deter immigrants from coming to the United States. […]

    There is no evidence, however, to suggest the administration’s assertion that failing to provide humane accommodations within detention facilities deters migration.

    Since news of the conditions at several facilities became public, there has been a steady drop in the number of apprehensions at the border. While the administration is taking credit for the decrease through its border policies and tough stance on Mexico, it is in line with historic patterns of migration, which tend to decrease in the summer months due to the heat.

  11. says

    AOC’s tweets aren’t fully threaded. Here’s more:

    Just left the 1st CBP facility.

    I see why CBP officers were being so physically &sexually threatening towards me.

    Officers were keeping women in cells w/ no water & had told them to drink out of the toilets.

    This was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.

    After I forced myself into a cell w/ women&began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as “psychological warfare” – waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them wh*res, etc.

    Tell me what about that is due to a “lack of funding?”

    Now I’m on my way to Clint, where the Trump admin was denying children toothpaste and soap. This has been horrifying so far. It is hard to understate the enormity of the problem. We’re talking systemic cruelty w/ a dehumanizing culture that treats them like animals.

    (I reject the language of “treats them like animals,” which implies that the way our society treats some animals is somehow natural and not itself horrifying and systematically cruel. It’s language that implicitly condones rather than questions the oppression of our fellow animals. Obviously I agree with her larger point.)

  12. says

    Tweets linked from the G liveblog:

    If you gave a transcript of what Jeremy Hunt is saying now on Sky to an MP 20 years ago and explained this was the foreign secretary in 2019 they would refuse to believe you.

    “Yes, it’ll destroy lots of businesses and cost billions but I still commit to taking this action”.

    Jeremy Hunt says his first priority for a government he led would be “Britain that walks tall in the world”, in part due to more defence spending.

    It’s fair to say Brexit has not done much to end the curious grip of a misplaced sense of British exceptionalism in our politics.

    Apropos of nothing, I watched the first episode of “Years and Years” on HBO this weekend. (That’s all that’s aired here in the US, so no spoilers, please.)

  13. says

    [CW: General pessimism, genocide, brief mention of torture, rape and murder]

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/25/g20-nations-triple-coal-power-subsidies-climate-crisis

    Basically, everything we are doing is becoming moot very quickly.
    It does not look like we will get this crisis under control in time, which means we will reach tipping points after which the amount of CO2 we blast into the air does not even matter anymore.

    And “western society” will not react well. We are responsible for most of it, and will have the least negative consequences, but that will not stop us from becoming genocidal. The migration movements that will result from climate change will destroy any kind of humans values our society at least pretends to carry.

    The small amount of people that reach the EU now, in combination with the horrors of late stage capitalism, is already enough to cause a massive shift to the right. Capitalism will go nowhere, and it is easy to predict what will happen when the migration movement reaches actually hard to manage levels. When it’s not millions that reach Europe, but hundreds of millions or even billions.
    Europe already lets people drown in the Mediterranean and makes saving them illegal, in a flagrant violation of international law. US boarder camps are bad, but the EU is way, way worse. We to have camps, but we do not run them ourselves. We let nations run them who have absolutely no regard for (foreign) human life. Torture, rape and murder are common place. But captains who save people from drowning in the Mediterranean and refuse to bring them to these nations are jailed.
    The next step up will be the use of weapons, and we are not far away from that point right now, where we deal with sub million of people. Once this gets to the expected climate crisis levels, we will have a genocide on our hands. At the same time social order inside the EU will collapse and new far right “governments” will run most if not all of it.

    After that, who knows. Depends on how bad climate change will get in the end. Not that there will be much left worth saving.

    And the US? It may be different. More space, less people, more resources. A good government could maybe manage. But it is still the US, and that does not lead to confidence.

  14. says

    NBC – “New study shows Russian propaganda may really have helped Trump”:

    President Donald Trump and his allies have long insisted that Russian’s 2016 propaganda campaign on social media had no impact on the presidential election.

    A new statistical analysis says it may well have.

    The study, by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does not prove that Russian interference swung the election to Trump. But it demonstrates that Trump’s gains in popularity during the 2016 campaign correlated closely with high levels of social media activity by the Russian trolls and bots of the Internet Research Agency, a key weapon in the Russian attack.

    “Our results show that the weeks when Russian trolls were accumulating likes and retweets on Twitter, that activity reliably foreshadowed gains for Trump in the opinion polls,” wrote Damian Ruck, the study’s lead researcher, in an article explaining his findings.

    The study found that every 25,000 re-tweets by accounts connected to the IRA predicted a 1 percent increase in opinion polls for Trump.

    In an interview with NBC News, Ruck said the research suggests that Russian trolls helped shift U.S public opinion in Trump’s favor. As to whether it affected the outcome of the election: “The answer is that we still don’t know, but we can’t rule it out.”

    Given that the election turned on 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, “it is a prospect that should be taken seriously,” Ruck wrote, adding that more study was needed in those swing states.

    He points out that 13 percent of voters didn’t make their final choice until the last week before the election.

    Ruck said the correlation between troll activity and Trump’s popularity remained true even when controlling for Trump’s own Twitter activity and other variables.

    “It turns out that the activity of Russian Twitter trolls was a better predictor of Donald Trump’s polling numbers than his own Twitter activity,” he wrote.

    The study noted that Trump’s own policy proposals occasionally seemed to dovetail with Russian propaganda….

  15. says

    HuffPo – “Democrats In No Hurry To Get Trump’s Tax Returns”:

    Donald Trump is the first president in 40 years not to disclose his personal income tax returns, and Democrats don’t seem too upset about it.

    They could have asked for copies of the president’s tax returns on their first day in control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3. Instead, they waited until April 3.

    Democrats could have gone to court in May after the administration denied their request and defied their subpoena. Now it’s July, and only 18 months remain before a new Congress takes power.

    There’s still no lawsuit.

    The Democrats’ point man on tax returns, House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), says the committee’s lawyers are simply taking their time to make sure the case is as strong as possible.

    “We’re close,” Neal told HuffPost last week, but he declined to be more specific.

    Federal law gives the Ways and Means chair access to anyone’s private tax information ― all the chair has to do is ask the Internal Revenue Service. Before the November election, Democrats vowed to ask for Trump’s taxes if they won. And Neal has known that the Trump administration would likely refuse to comply with the request, setting up a court battle.

    If he’d wanted to, Neal could have made the request on Jan. 3, issued a subpoena as soon as the Trump administration said no, and then filed suit in federal court a week later, according to Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project, an anti-corruption initiative of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research.

    “If there were any sense of urgency we would have been where we are now by the middle of January,” Hauser said.

    The Trump tax subpoena is just one of at least a dozen House Democrats have issued for documents and testimony from the Trump administration, which has mostly refused to comply. In the past, courts have sided with Congress when it demands information from the executive branch, but appeals can prolong the cases.

    A key difference with the tax return subpoena, however, is that Democrats are asking courts to order compliance with a federal law that explicitly says the Internal Revenue Service is supposed to hand over the requested information ― which means Democrats’ tax case should be even stronger than the others….

    Hauser said he suspected that Neal and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are in no rush for a legal victory because it would result in a court order forcing the administration to hand over the tax returns, which Trump might not want to do. Several Democrats have said the Trump administration defying a court order would present a true constitutional crisis.

    “My view is Pelosi and Neal are trying to avoid a constitutional crisis,” Hauser said, “because they don’t want to impeach him.”

    The clock is ticking….

  16. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 21:

    The study noted that Trump’s own policy proposals occasionally seemed to dovetail with Russian propaganda….

    Occasionally? How about frequently and repeatedly.

    In other news: The Courts Won’t End Gerrymandering. Eric Holder Has a Plan to Fix It Without Them.

    Holder is fighting for fairer maps in 2021 and beyond.

    […] He [Holder] was warmly greeted by Angela Lang, the 29-year-old executive director of Black Leaders Organ­izing for Communities (BLOC), a local group that works to increase voter turnout in Milwaukee’s black neighborhoods from an office in the union hall’s basement, which was filled with campaign flyers and maps. It was the 68-year-old former attorney general’s third visit to Milwaukee in a year […]

    The reason for Holder’s visits was Wisconsin’s assault on voting rights. The Wisconsin GOP had passed a voter ID law, designed to depress Democratic participation, that took effect before the 2016 election. As a result, turnout in Milwaukee’s black neighborhoods dropped by more than 20 percent.

    Not long after the election, Holder launched the Nation­al Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), a political action committee that aims to unrig the system that has entrenched Republican control of the country’s most important swing states. He’d received the backing of top Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, who in December 2018 folded his own political operation, Organizing for Action, into Holder’s to give the fight against gerrymandering more clout. Now, while other top Democrats are focused on the White House, Holder has set his sights on neighborhoods like Merrill Park and on races like the one he was there to talk about, a state Supreme Court contest that had received virtually no attention outside Wisconsin.

    […] “Last year they called it a blue wave, and yet you didn’t flip one congressional seat here in Wisconsin. That’s not because you didn’t work hard or people didn’t vote. It was because of gerrymandering.” Republicans had so effectively gerrymandered the state that even when Democrats won 53 percent of the statewide vote in 2018, they took only 36 percent of the seats in the state legislature. […]

    For decades, Democrats successfully fought these twin efforts at disenfranchisement in the courts. As Obama’s attorney general, Holder led that charge, filing lawsuits against states like North Carolina and Texas that challenged Republican-­backed laws curbing the right to vote. But this tactic was handed an enormous defeat in 2013, when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby County v. Holder, ruling that states with a long history of discrimination no longer needed federal approval to change voting laws. Last week, the court struck another blow, declaring that federal courts couldn’t block partisan gerrymandering. […] the traditional ways of protecting ballot access are no longer reliable.

    So Holder is pursuing a new strategy, trying to elect down-ballot candidates who can deliver fairer maps and voting laws. The NDRC invested $350,000 in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, hoping that a liberal majority on the seven-­member court might strike down any egregious gerrymanders in the next round of redistricting in 2021.[…]

    But if Democrats are belatedly recognizing this need, few besides Holder are acting on it. He is playing a long game in a party driven by instant gratification and consumed by the mess in the White House. While the party’s presidential contenders are attracting big crowds, donors, and volunteers determined to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020, Holder is focused on 2021. […]

    More at the link.

  17. says

    A summary of the lowlights from Trump’s G20 trip, which was bizarre and embarrassing:

    […] Trump is heading home after an eventful trip to G20 summit in Japan packed with enough bizarre statements and diplomatic gaffes to render the visit a disaster […]

    Praise for autocrats
    Trump has heaped praise on Kim, a practice he continued during his G-20 trip. “There’s a good feeling,” Trump said Saturday of their ties. “I just think we have a very good relationship—the two of us.” Trump also had kind words for Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian prince accused of ordering the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. […]

    Putin pandering
    Trump also made light of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possibility that Moscow will again work to support his campaign in 2020 during a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” Trump said, jokingly wagging his finger at Putin […]

    Worse, Trump bonded with Putin over their mutual distain of journalists. Reminder: Putin is suspected of directing the murder of journalists. “Get rid of them,” Trump said. […]

    North Korean jostling
    Trump walked into North Korea with that country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, becoming the first sitting US president to so. Trump received little beyond a photo-op in exchange for an act of legitimating a tyrannical regime. But the visit also produced a bizarre moment when Trump’s new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, jostled with North Korean security in an effort to ensure American reporters documented the meeting. […]

    Ignorance of “liberal democracy”
    […] When asked Saturday about Putin’s claim that Western-style liberalism has failed, Trump not only didn’t defend the liberal democratic political tradition—majority rule tempered by individual rights—of the United States and its allies. Trump also seemed unaware that the liberalism championed by thinkers like John Locke and John Stuart Mill, which includes enthusiasm for capitalism, differs from the meaning of the term liberal when used to describe people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the American left. He also seemed to interpret “Western” literally, by listing cities on America’s west coast: “I guess you look at what’s happening in Los Angeles, where it’s so sad to look, and what’s happening in San Francisco, and a couple other cities which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people.”

    In the same appearance, Trump, seemed unaware that the term “busing” is often used to mean a federally mandated busing to desegregate schools, rather than to describe the literal use of buses to transport children to school. […]

    Other major “lowlight” categories: Trump insulted U.S. allies, he attacked Democrats from abroad, and he flaunted the awkward nepotism of his administration (Ivanka!).

  18. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of Trump’s bumblefucking foreign trip:

    Donald Trump is back on American soil, and another bumblefucking foreign trip of shame is in the books. And oh, what an embarrassment it was! Donald Trump has become the first sitting president to walk into North Korea, and in true Art Of The Deal mode, America got nothing in return for this conferring of legitimacy on the world’s most dangerous dictator. […]

    […] While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!

    […] It turns out something like this had been in the works all week, with Trump all the way back to last Monday wanting to meet Kim at the DMZ. It was mentioned during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the White House asked them not to print it for security reasons, they said “OK,” and Trump just … tweeted it out. We guess Kim wasn’t answering his texts, even though he could totally see Kim had read them, because um hello you can see when people have read texts on iPhones, and OMG WHY WAS HE NOT RESPONDING?

    Of course, Trump has been lying about the meeting, claiming before it happened that the Obama administration “begged” for meetings with Kim Jong Un, because this pathetic fucking fistula of a human being is apparently unaware that NO TRUE AMERICAN PRESIDENT WOULD MEET WITH THE NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR IN EXCHANGE FOR NOTHING.

    President Obama wanted to meet and Chairman Kim would not meet him. The Obama Administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly and Chairman Kim would not meet with him. And for some reason, we have a certain chemistry.

    […] So Trump went to the DMZ, and Kim did show up — guess there weren’t any important state murders to attend to at that particular moment — and it was as embarrassing as it possibly could have been. Trump said it was HIS honor to step across that line — how debased must the American president be for that to be HIS honor? […]

    Oh yeah, and Trump said he’d be open to inviting Kim to the White House, because apparently he feels a pathological need to only and always be debasing America abroad.

    Here is a video of Trump talking about how “powerful” Kim’s voice is, talking about how “honored” he is, and also thanking Kim for accepting the invitation in his “Call Me Maybe” overshare tweet — we are not kidding here — because of how it would have looked really bad if Kim had stood him up and the media would have made fun of him. [video available at the link]

    And of course Tucker Carlson was in the room, because … um, well, we guess there was an extra seat on Air Force One in the white hood section.

    Afterward, Tucker Carlson helped Fox News viewers work through the cognitive dissonance of whether or not it was cool for Trump to get in bed with a mass murderer who starves his people, by saying all world leaders kill people, so don’t be so silly. […]

  19. says

    Rep. Dean:

    Just left the first CBP facility. The conditions are far worse than we ever could have imagined.

    15 women in their 50s- 60s sleeping in a small concrete cell, no running water. Weeks without showers. All of them separated from their families.

    This is a human rights crisis.

  20. says

    From the video @ #29 (with better audio):

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley: ‘I learned a long time ago that when change happens it’s either because people see the light or they feel the fire.

    We’re lifting up these stories in the hopes that you will see the light. And if you don’t, we will bring the fire’.”

  21. says

    CNN – “Exclusive: Democrats investigating whistleblower claims Pompeo’s security picked up Chinese food and his dog”:

    Democrats on a key House congressional committee are investigating allegations from a whistleblower within the State Department about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his family’s use of taxpayer-funded Diplomatic Security — prompting agents to lament they are at times viewed as “UberEats with guns”.

    Congressional investigators, who asked for the committee not to be named as they carry out their inquiries, tell CNN that a State Department whistleblower has raised multiple issues over a period of months, about special agents being asked to carry out some questionable tasks for the Pompeo family.

    Those personal-seeming tasks might be eye-catching, but congressional investigators say the State Department whistleblower told them the bigger issue causing concern among some agents is the question of why Pompeo’s wife, Susan, has her own security detail, assigned to her in 2018, even while she is at home in the United States….

    Much more at the link.

  22. VolcanoMan says

    I want to talk about the Iran nuclear deal. They were complying with the deal when America pulled out of it and reimposed sanctions. This has left me wondering – what would happen if the rest of the world decided that they were going to ignore those sanctions? I understand that we live in an age where economies are globally integrated, but honestly…America seems to be the only country that doesn’t want to honour this deal (and let’s be honest here, Trump only wants out because it was Obama’s deal, and he’s trying to undo EVERYTHING Obama did…I would guess that the majority of Americans are pro-deal).

    Does the USA really have the power to tell the rest of us what we can and cannot do…who we can and cannot trade with? Is their economic might so great that it outweighs almost 200 other countries’ ability to get along without engaging with American companies or banks? And who’s going to get hurt worse by this isolationism? America, or the rest of us? Personally, I think it’s time for the rest of the world (and the most powerful countries therein especially) to show Mr. Trump and his supporters that we don’t need America. That we support Iran’s attempts at progress (slow though they may be). Punishing PEOPLE for the many misdeeds of their GOVERNMENT is inhumane, especially when so many of those misdeeds harm ordinary Iranians more than anyone else. Note that I understand the irony here…that any such actions would harm ordinary Americans because of the decisions their president made, but I think America has a lot more resources to deal with economic isolation than Iran. Also, Iran is having isolation IMPOSED upon it. Americans…voted for a guy who was clearly a nationalist, and have neglected to substantially take away his power by any means necessary, even though he has made many decisions that are designed for his own personal benefit (and the benefit of his cronies), at the expense of the American people. Plus, a substantial proportion of Americans think isolationism is an attractive option. You Americans really need to work to take your country back, to make it clear to Trump that he only has power because the people consent to give him power. That consent needs to be withdrawn.

  23. F.O. says

    @SC #25
    That is literally the White House admitting that the Iran Deal was working as intended. WTF.

  24. says

    AOC:

    And to these CBP officers saying they felt “threatened” by me –

    They were literally discussing making a GoFundMe for an officer who attacked [me] on my tour.

    They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4”.

    They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.

  25. says

    “Unbowed and Unbroken: Pro-Democracy Sudanese Resume Massive Protests Against Military Rule”:

    Over the weekend, the people of Sudan showed the world they’re still fighting for the future of their country, defying the generals who currently command the government and who have violently cracked down on protesters’ calls for civilian rule.

    In Khartoum on Sunday, protesters gathered in the largest mass demonstration since the deadly confrontation with government militias earlier in June, which killed at least 100 people. As the BBC reports, pro-democracy protests broke out throughout the country—a “massive show of strength” despite a month-long internet blackout and military troops obstructing many from joining the marches. Some estimate that hundreds of thousands of people took part in the nationwide demonstrations.

    They were met with violence.

    At least seven people have been confirmed dead, with another 181 people wounded, CNN reports, citing the Health Ministry. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, an independent organization, blamed the injuries on gunfire from the Transitional Military Council’s militias. The TMC is the group of generals that have ruled the country since former dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted earlier this year after 30 years in power.

    The driving force of the violence is the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, who’s more commonly known as Hemeti. A paramilitary faction of the Sudanese military, it’s the RSF that raided protesters’ campsite in Khartoum on June 3, killing and raping dozens of Sudanese people and throwing their bodies into the Nile.

    Still, the latest demonstrations show pro-democracy activists are unbowed in the face of brutal military opposition. Protest organizers used text messages, word of mouth, and even sent messengers on the streets with megaphones to help spread news of Sunday’s protest in the suburbs of Khartoum, the Times writes. As protesters in the capital city approached military headquarters and the presidential palace, government forces shot tear gas into the crowd.

    In one NPR report, you can hear a protester shouting the Arabic phrase for “civilian rule” as gunfire pops in the background.

    According to CNN, protest leaders in the Sudanese Professional Associations (SPA), which led the protests against al-Bashir, were prepared for potential violence, warning the international community not to let the TMC “get away with another massacre.”…

  26. says

    “The Boston Globe is now Vice President Pence’s flight was diverted, but the situation was not an emergency.

    The situation is developing and we still lack details about what canceled Pence’s event.”

  27. says

    “Flight was diverted” and “not an emergency” aren’t compatible. If it isn’t a stunt to try to draw attention from the outrage over the concentration camps or some impending news story (which I wouldn’t put past them), it’s likely it’s an emergency.

  28. says

    Trump also tweeted a couple hours ago: “Robert Mueller is being asked to testify yet again. He said he could only stick to the Report, & that is what he would and must do. After so much testimony & total transparency, this Witch Hunt must now end. No more Do Overs. No Collusion, No Obstruction. The Great Hoax is dead!”

    Hm…

  29. says

    Walter Shaub re #32:

    The partisan political campaign of a candidate invited supporters to attend an event hosted by that candidate, at taxpayer expense, adding that it is “not a campaign event.” Saying it’s “not a campaign event” does not make it “not a campaign event.” It is a campaign event.

  30. says

    “Russia: Fire kills 14 sailors aboard navy research submersible”:

    A fire aboard a Russian navy research submersible has killed 14 crew members, the Russian defence ministry says.

    The crew were poisoned by fumes as the vessel was taking measurements in Russian territorial waters on Monday.

    The ministry gave no details about the type of vessel. But Russian media reports say it was a nuclear mini-submarine used for special operations.

    The fire was later put out and the vessel is now at Severomorsk, the main base of the Russian Northern Fleet.

    An investigation into the incident has begun under the commander-in-chief of the navy….

  31. says

    Followup to SC @48.

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] Sure, the RNC might get tickets for a Holiday party the President puts on at the White House. But this is a national holiday event [Fourth of July] put on by the National Park Service. Well, not exactly.

    David Kurtz flagged my attention to this June 28th press release from the Secret Service. All the words are key.

    Independence Day activities and events are slated throughout Washington, D.C. on July 4th 2019, for the Independence Day celebration. National Mall information to include activities, public access points, road closures and prohibited items can be found on the National Park Service website here.

    The ‘Salute to America’ event will be hosted by the President of the United States and will take place at the Lincoln Memorial. The Secret Service is working with its federal and local partners on a security plan for this event.

    The Salute to America event specifically will be secured by the U.S. Secret Service, separate from the rest of the July 4th activities within the District of Columbia. Tickets are required for this event and individuals will be required to undergo an additional level of security screening to include magnetometers. Screening will begin at 3 p.m. and the event starts at 6:30 p.m. The U.S. Secret Service is not the issuing agency for tickets to the event.

    The key phrase here is “The ‘Salute to America’ event will be hosted by the President of the United States …” Let me try to translate what that means. By a sort of pretorian sleight of hand the President is bringing the private White House-ness out of the White House into the Lincoln Memorial. So you have the norms and rules that apply to the White House and he has taken them and plopped them down in the middle of the national July 4th event. There’s sort of like a Trump bubble amidst the larger festivities where a totally different set of rules apply.

    People have been saying this is just going to end up being a Trump political rally. That ends up being more true than I think a lot of people realized. They’re not defining it as a campaign rally per se, which would require the campaign to reimburse the government for a mammoth amount of expenses. But they are defining it as a personal event, which gives the President carte blanche to run it as he would for a private party at the White House, where he has more or less free rein to give the tickets to political supporters and use it for fundraising purposes. […]

    Link

  32. says

    Oh, FFS.

    In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, […] Trump claimed that sanctuary cities and increased homelessness are “destroying a whole way of life,” adding, “It’s not our country. It’s not what our country is all about.”

    […] Trump was asked whether U.S. cities have more “filth,” which both Carlson and Trump appeared to understand was a metaphor not for trash but for people living on the streets. Trump claimed this homelessness problem only started two years ago and bemoaned that “police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat.”

    At no point did Trump frame the discussion in terms of what could be done to improve the lives of displaced people. Instead, he seemed to refer to them more as obstacles in the way of other people’s quality of life.

    “You have people that work in those cities, they work in office buildings,” he said. “To get into the building they have to walk through a scene that no one would have believed possible. This is the liberal establishment. This is what I am fighting.”

    Trump also claimed that there were “certain areas of Washington, D.C. where that was starting to happen,” but that he “ended it very quickly.”

    D.C.’s homeless population has declined, but there is no evidence to suggest that Trump did anything to impact it. Even in this false history, his concern was not the homeless people of D.C., but guests of his who might have to witness them.

    “When we have leaders of the world coming into to see the president of the United States and they’re riding down the highway, they can’t be looking at that,” he insisted. “I really believe that it hurts our country. They can’t be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco.” […]

    Link

  33. says

    Baby Trump balloon will crash Trump’s Fourth of July celebration/campaign rally … maybe:

    Trump’s intensely hyped Fourth of July celebration is set to have a party crasher: the infamous 20-foot-tall balloon depicting the president as a baby in diapers.

    The National Park Service on Monday issued a permit to feminist anti-war group Code Pink to display the balloon on the National Mall during Trump’s “Salute to America” event in protest of what they say are the president’s efforts to politicize and militarize Independence Day. Organizers, however, are still dealing with one hiccup — they don’t yet have permission to fill the balloon with the helium to make it float. […]

    Link

  34. says

    From Bette Midler:

    An unheard of 115 degrees in France, one of our allies, and Mr Trump is only interested in putting tanks on the Mall for his salute to himself July 4th. I am so ashamed.

    In other news, Cory Booker’s campaign unveiled a plan that would “virtually eliminate” immigration detention if he is elected in 2020.

    […] Booker’s immigration agenda, which he said would begin on the first day of his presidency, centers on using executive power to direct the Department of Homeland Security to mandate detention facilities meet civil detention standards of the American Bar Association.

    He would also end the use of for-profit detention facilities, limit the amount of time immigrants spend in detention centers and ensure immigrants get better access to legal counsel.

    Other Democratic candidates for president have also called for an end to for-profit prisons and detention facilities.

    Booker’s plan would also undo the Trump administration’s move to eliminate protections for so-called Dreamers, undo the administration’s Muslim travel ban and “expand pathways for refugees and those seeking asylum” by removing barriers to asylum, increase the cap on refugees and up border staffing for interviewing those seeking asylum. […]

    Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced his immigration plan in May, vowing to create a pathway to U.S. citizenship for 11 million people living in the country illegally.

    Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro called for decriminalizing border crossings as part of his proposed immigration policy.

  35. says

    From Wonkette:

    The trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher wrapped up and went to the jury Monday. Prosecutors argued Gallagher’s own actions and testimony from those under his command proved his guilt on charges of murder and attempted murder, but defense attorneys claimed the whole prosecution was a mutinous conspiracy by cowardly “millennial” SEALs who hated Gallagher for being too much of a hardass for their wimpy unworthy asses, snowflake safe space trigger warning, you know the drill. […]

    Gallagher is accused of murdering a captured teenaged ISIS fighter who’d been injured in a firefight, and of the attempted murder of two civilians he shot at with a sniper rifle. The Navy’s prosecutor, Cmdr. Jeffrey Pietrzyk, began his closing statement by saying Gallagher had bragged of the killing in text messages to friends:

    One message said: “I’ve got a cool story for you when I get back. I’ve got my knife skills on.” Another text stated: “Good story behind this. Got him with my hunting knife.”

    He then showed a photo of the dead prisoner with Gallagher holding up his head by the hair. […]

    He acknowledged the victim was an ISIS fighter who would have happily killed Americans. But by the time he was in the hands of Gallagher and his men, the victim, however unsympathetic, was a noncombatant, and the USA doesn’t (or isn’t supposed to) do war like terrorists.

    “At that point, he was no longer a lawful target,” he said. “We’re not ISIS. When we capture someone they’re out of the fight. That’s it.” […]

    Weirdly, both the prosecution and the defense accused witnesses in the court-martial of lying. Pietryzk suggested some witnesses had done so out of loyalty to Gallagher instead of to the truth, and noted that several SEALS under Gallagher’s command testified he had threatened anyone who reported him to superiors. CNN reports one member of Gallagher’s team said Gallagher had explicitly urged him to keep quiet after they’d returned to the good old USA where at least they know they’re free […]

    […] we’re not buying the portrayal of a group of Navy SEALS as soy-slurping wimps who conspired against the Last Brave Warrior. Show us photos of them going into battle in a Prius and we’ll consider it.

    For a conviction under military law, five of the seven members of the jury will have to agree on a guilty verdict. And if they do, expect Donald Trump to pardon Gallagher to celebrate the 4th of July and the very best American ideals.

  36. Chris J says

    From the linked article about the Baby Trump balloon:

    Critics say it politicizes the historically nonpartisan annual Independence Day celebration, but senior counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s plans, accusing reporters Tuesday of being the ones who are trying to politicize it.

    Well of course she did. It’s racist to point out racism, it’s sexist to point out sexism, it’s politicizing to point out politicizing. That’s the Republican Way!

  37. says

    From an interview with an immigration lawyer, conducted by Dahlia Lithwick:

    […] I personally interviewed a boy who was 4 years old and a girl who had turned 18 the day before. However, one of the team members interviewed a 2-year-old. I also interviewed three teen mothers who carried their infants in their arms—one baby was only 5 months old. Everyone I interviewed had been at this facility for at least nine days. Most had been in the facility for more than 12 days, and some for 17–20 days.

    Several of the younger children I interviewed were unbathed and wore dirty clothes. Some did not have socks. Their hair was dirty. I came to realize that the younger children were dirtier than the older children because the smaller ones were hesitant to bathe by themselves; there was also no one who helped them wash their clothes. With only a couple exceptions, none of the children I interviewed were offered clean clothes. All reported that the belongings they carried to the border were thrown away by CBP officers.

    One 5-year-old boy that I interviewed was sick. He had a runny nose and coughed. He said that he had not seen a doctor. I reported this to a CBP officer, and she told me that the boy would be seen by a doctor “tomorrow.” Some girls reported that they felt unsafe going to the bathroom. Many reported that they were not given sufficient food to eat and that they were often hungry. I interviewed one 13-year-old boy who had the flu and a 17-year-old boy who was getting over the flu. They both contracted the flu while at the CBP facility. They both felt that they caught the flu because they were in cramped quarters where other people were coughing or sick. […]

    The children were given the same three meals every day: for breakfast, an oatmeal mix with a juicy pouch drink and a cookie or bar; lunch was an instant cup of noodles or ramen-type “soup” with another juicy drink; and dinner was a microwaved frozen burrito. Fresh fruits and vegetables were never provided.

    None of the children I interviewed knew what was happening in terms of the possibility of release. All of the ones I interviewed, except the 5-year-old boy, had contact information for relatives in the United States readily available. […]

    Solutions:

    […] the better solution is to not separate the children from the relatives who accompanied them to the border in the first place—and to not detain them. I have been doing this type of work for more than 40 years, and the appearance rate for those who are released is way over 90 percent. In other words, there is not a serious problem with them absconding.

    Also, the Family Case Management Program pilot program began operating in January 2016. Under the program, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that oversaw the program, provided basic necessities when these families arrived, ensuring they had appropriate access to food, shelter, and medical care so they could be more ready and able to comply with immigration requirements. The program worked very well for the over 900 families it served, incentivizing them to comply with immigration court appearances. But the Trump administration abruptly halted the program. […]

    Children who reach the border with an aunt, uncle, older sibling, or cousin are immediately separated from that person at the border—no matter how old the child. One of the most striking things I witnessed was how toddlers are left to care for themselves—including a 2-year-old the team encountered. […]

    Link

    More at the link.

  38. says

    I wonder how many people will change their plans for the Fourth of July. Will they not show up at the Washington D.C. event/Trump rally?

  39. says

    Breaking! DHS Office of Inspector General releases report on ‘Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley’. Conditions ‘represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of … those detained’.”

    Thread with images from the DHS IG report at the link.

  40. says

    NPR – “Trump Administration’s Delay In Census Printing Sets Up Count’s ‘Biggest Risk'”:

    The Trump administration appears to have missed its own deadline Monday to start the printing of paper forms and other mailings that will play a key role in next year’s constitutionally mandated head count of every person living in the U.S.

    As of Monday evening, the 2020 census materials did not appear to have been officially approved by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for printing, according to a website tracking OMB’s review process.

    In another sign that production has not begun, Justice Department attorneys told a federal judge in Maryland on Monday that the administration has not reached a final decision on whether it will try to make another case in court for adding a hotly contested citizenship question to census forms.

    U.S. District Judge George Hazel, who is presiding over recently reopened lawsuits over the question, has agreed to hold a hearing on the issue Tuesday, plaintiffs’ attorneys Denise Hulett of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Shankar Duraiswamy of Covington & Burling tell NPR.

    The delay in printing 1.5 billion paper census mailings could throw a wrench into a tightly wound timetable of final preparations for the 2020 census. The count is scheduled to begin officially in January in rural Alaska before rolling out to the rest of the country by April.

    Some Democrats in Congress are calling for the Trump administration to move forward with the census without a citizenship question. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York is leading 17 House Democrats in urging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, to send the census form without the question for printing by July 4.

    “Only Congress has the authority to delay the census and must do so through the legislative process, which we have no intention of doing,” wrote the lawmakers in a letter to Ross that was released on Tuesday.

    For months, the administration’s attorneys have urged the courts to move the lawsuits over the citizenship question along in order to meet the July 1 printing deadline.

    “The Census Bureau must finalize the census forms by the end of June 2019 to print them on time for the 2020 decennial census,” wrote U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco in a Supreme Court filing submitted in January.

    Administration officials have not echoed that urgency publicly since the Supreme Court’s ruling was released days before the printing deadline.

    The Census Bureau’s public information office and a spokesperson for the government’s 2020 census printing contractor — R.R. Donnelley & Sons — declined to comment Monday on the record to NPR. A spokesperson for the Justice Department, which is representing the administration in the citizenship question lawsuits, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday.

    Outside the administration, however, former government officials involved with past census preparations are raising the alarm.

    In an interview on Monday, former Census Bureau Director John Thompson called delays in census printing “the biggest risk right now that you can see.”

    Before the apparent printing delay, the Census Bureau has already hit multiple bumps on the road to getting materials printed, including a botched contracting process in which the Government Publishing Office originally awarded its single largest printing contract to a bankrupt company.

    After a delayed selection process for a new contractor, R.R. Donnelley & Sons won a new $115 million contract in January to produce and mail 2020 census materials.

    As recently as two weeks ago, the bureau confirmed in a written statement that it was still preparing for questionnaires to hit the presses beginning on July 1. Asked what additional resources it would need to push back that time frame, the bureau replied that it “does not comment on hypothetical situations.”

  41. blf says

    In the Gruaniad, David Squires on Megan Rapinoe v Donald Trump (cartoon): “[…] the USA player’s spat with the president, the chlorinated chicken derby and more”. The first panel:

    The war of worlds between Megan Rapinoe and the somehow president of the United States, Donald Trump, escalated last week when an interview emerged in which the most influential person in America made the bizarre admission that she wouldn’t visit the occasional lair of a demonstrably sexist, racist and homophobic golfer famed for his causal boasts of sexual assault. […]

  42. says

    “Hungarian Academy of Sciences stripped of its research network”:

    On Tuesday, the Fidesz supermajority in the Hungarian Parliament passed a bill submitted by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology that ends the year-long struggle for the research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Disregarding all of the Academy’s suggested changes, the new law takes the entire research network away from the Academy and hands them to a new organisation that gets to use the Academy’s property without remuneration. The Academy is likely to initiate the law’s constitutional review as they believe it violates academic freedom and their right to hold property….

    Much more at the link. Love this part: “The Ministry of Innovation and Technology maintains that all state funds spent on research must have tangible results with regards to the Hungarian economy.” Solid understanding of science there.

  43. says

    Charlotte Clymer:

    Well, @PiersMorgan, I know you’re a man of your word. I now invite you to make good by donating $1000 to @RAICESTEXAS, an organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees:…

    Meaningful for me in @RAICESTEXAS’ work is their inclusion of LGBTQ immigrants + asylum seekers, who esp. face violence and persecution for being LGBTQ, including Johana “Joa” Medina, a trans woman who died this year related to ICE/CBP custody:…

    And these photos released today really flesh out why it’s so important that Congresswoman @AOC and her colleagues are pointing out the absurd, intentional cruelty at play here. We need to be speaking up:…

  44. says

    ACLU:

    BREAKING: We just won due process rights back for asylum seekers.

    A federal court just ruled the Trump administration cannot arbitrarily detain people exercising their legal right to seek asylum without a hearing.

    Try as it may, the government can’t circumvent the Constitution in an effort to deter and punish asylum-seekers applying for protection.

    This ruling will provide much-needed relief for people being detained in cruel and inhumane conditions while going through the asylum process.

  45. says

    blf @64, that was good cartoon, chock full of references. The Ivanka character cracked me up.

    SC @65, so all the über right-wingers are also anti-science. Same the world over. I’m still upset after viewing Rachel Maddow’s segment that looked at “the history of scientific excellence and global leadership by the USDA and how the agency’s research capacity is being decimated by Donald Trump and Secretary Sonny Perdue’s effort to suppress climate science and other research that doesn’t comport with the Trump agenda.” Man is that scary. Thanks, Rachel. The video is about 23 minutes long. Rachel did a good job of showing us what we are losing thanks to Trump.

  46. says

    SC @71, I’m thinking that Trump’s special Fourth of July farce might also be attacked by Mother Nature, who seems to be planning a thunderstorm. I wonder if the tanks attract lightening?

  47. says

    The Park Service is diverting $2.5 million in funds it had for upkeep and maintenance of the USA national park system to pay for Park Service expenses associated with Trump’s ridiculous “Salute to America” event on the Fourth of July.

    I wonder how much the Pentagon is paying to do their part. Some of the fighter jets scheduled to “fly over” cost about $30,000 per hour, while other planes from the Blue Angels cost about $10,000 per hour. There will also be a B-2 bomber and the new “Marine One” helicopter.

    Despite Trump’s claim that a new “Sherman tank” would be on display, there are no “new” Sherman tanks. Sherman tanks haven’t been in service since 1957.

    [Trump tells pool in Oval Office] , And we’re gonna have some tanks stationed outside… So we have to put them in certain areas but we have the brand new Sherman tanks and we have the brand new Abram tanks.

    Commentary:

    […] Let’s unpack the president’s statement a bit: The M4 Sherman was the main U.S. military battle tank during World War II. More than 50,000 Shermans were produced during the war. The tank proved to be inferior to most German panzers and it took the Army some time to develop tactics to make the best of the Sherman’s limited protection and firepower.

    Although the U.S. military stopped using Sherman tanks after the Korean War, Paraguay continued to use the M4 until 2018, according to the Army.

    Defense officials were unclear what the president meant by “brand new Sherman tanks.” A White House spokesman declined to elaborate on Trump’s remarks. […]

    https://taskandpurpose.com/brand-new-sherman-tanks

  48. says

    Followup to SC’s comments 67 and 69.

    From Jeremy Stahl:

    […] the decision to print did not necessarily mean that the case was over and that DOJ officials would not confirm that they would drop litigation seeking to add the question, presumably in some second, later printing.

    UC–Irvine School of Law professor and elections expert Richard L. Hasen, though, said that he at long last felt the case would be over.

    “While it is theoretically possible that Trump would later try to delay the process and reprint the census forms, this seems unlikely at this point,” Hasen told Slate. “This was the moment for Trump to act, with the clock ticking.”

    If the case is truly over, it would be one of the biggest legal defeats of the Trump presidency.

    Before the Supreme Court’s ruling came out, lawyers opposing the question surfaced another explanation for the inclusion of the question that had little to do with enforcing the Voting Rights Act. That explanation came in a memo found in a trove of computer files from a deceased GOP political operative. Per the memo, a citizenship question would allow future redistricting that would be “a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites.”

    The trial courts that decided the case initially ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to demonstrate an Equal Protection Clause violation, but that aspect of the case was reopened two weeks ago, when the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said that a district judge in Maryland could revisit the question with new evidence. Roberts had sent the case back to the Commerce Department to come up with a new, non-pretextual reasoning before the printing, but it appears as though there just wasn’t enough time to fight the new equal protection arguments in lower courts and come up with a new explanation that would ultimately satisfy Roberts. In addition to facing the renewed equal protection clause case in Maryland, the Department of Justice had consistently argued that a decision in the case was necessary by June 30 because administration officials needed to begin the process of printing the census forms on July 1. If the Trump administration returned to court offering little more than “JK-LOL,” it’s not clear how well that argument would have played given all of the other flaws in the case.

    Still, after the Roberts opinion, Trump was suggesting that he would continue to fight the case. Shortly after the ruling, Trump tweeted that he “asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter.” […]

    Trump and Wilbur Ross are sad, sad, sad.

  49. lotharloo says

    @VolcanoMan, 33:
    Obama’s Iran deal was a win-win. US was happy since the deal stopped Iran from developing nuclear weapons and so it helped reduce the instability in the region. It was a win for iran because they got their sanctions reduced. However, the right wingers in US and Israel were not happy because they are against any sort of “win” for Iran and also they prosper when there’s instability and war. So now we are in the situation at today. Curiously, the right wingers in Iran were also against the deal since guess what, they also love instability and war! Not direct war with Iran of course that would be bad for them but they love proxy wars and tensions. It’s good for them politically. So basically, the three main countries involved (US, Iran, Israel) are ruled by fuckhead assholes who love to have more tensions and thus we will get more tensions. Iran will continue to enrich, then maybe Saudi Arabia does something, then Iran sends missiles to Syria, then US/Israel bombs here and there and so on.

    The rest of world has really no choice because dealing with Iran offers little economical benefit and they are not good guys anyways; the rest of the world knows that the fraction of whatever Iran earns will be injected into their stupid proxy wars.

  50. Akira MacKenzie says

    Lyanna @ 77

    Despite Trump’s claim that a new “Sherman tank” would be on display, there are no “new” Sherman tanks. Sherman tanks haven’t been in service since 1957.

    The “generous” part of me think what he means is whoever is organizing this vulgar display of jingoism found someone who had a restored a vintage Sherman and it was going to be featured in the parade and in Trump’s tiny mind restored counts a “new.” Far more likely he’s just an idiot and doesn’t know anything about the equipment the military he’s the Commander and Chief of actually uses.

  51. says

    Lynna @ #77:

    The Park Service is diverting $2.5 million in funds it had for upkeep and maintenance of the USA national park system to pay for Park Service expenses associated with Trump’s ridiculous “Salute to America” event on the Fourth of July.

    Of course they’re not the biggest victims, but the people who work for the Park Service have suffered so many blows from Trump. Opening the parks to mining (and potentially drilling and logging), the government shutdowns, corrupting the Interior Department with his appointments, promoting disinformation about fires and the environment, attempting to slash the Parks’ budget, taking money they need badly for his pathetic vanity event,…

  52. says

    Julia Ioffe responding to the pictures of the tanks being transported to DC: “I left Russia for this.”

    Imagine having come to the US from Hungary after 1956 or Czechoslovakia after 1968 and having to see this on the streets of Washington.

    (And they’re not even going to be moving! They’re just going to sit there! It’s so stupid.)

  53. says

    Politico – “MSNBC not planning to air Trump’s July Fourth celebration live”:

    President Donald Trump’s takeover of the Fourth of July celebration at the National Mall won’t completely take over the cable airwaves.

    MSNBC, for one, doesn’t plan to carry his “Salute to America” live, though the network will assess in real time whether to air clips of the event, a spokesperson told POLITICO.

    Fox News is planning to cover “Salute to America” during a two-hour edition of “Special Report,” which airs from 6 to 8 p.m. And C-SPAN is planning to carry the event live, beginning at 6:15 p.m.

    CNN representatives did not respond to requests for comment. The network is slated to air “The Situation Room” at 6 p.m. and a special report on the rise of white nationalism at 7 p.m., according to TV listings….

  54. says

    Acting DHS head Kevin McAleenan:

    Reporting this week highlighted disturbing & inexcusable social media activity that allegedly includes active Border Patrol personnel. These statements are completely unacceptable, especially if made by those sworn to uphold the @DHSgov mission, our values & standards of conduct.

    I have directed an immediate investigation, and as the @USBPChief has made clear, any employee found to have compromised the public’s trust in our law enforcement mission will be held accountable. They do not represent the men and women of the Border Patrol or @DHSgov.

    Thousands of people in the FB group, been in existence for three years, we’re just hearing about it now from investigative reporting. Lots of confidence in that inquiry.

  55. says

    Jim Sciutto:

    CNN Exclusive: Military chiefs have concerns about the politicization of President Trump’s July 4th event, a source with direct knowledge tells me. In planning, they had reservations about putting tanks or other armored vehicles on display.

    In addition, as the final details come together, several top military chiefs of the individual services are not attending and are sending alternates in their place, though some say they had prior plans.

    They shouldn’t be sending alternates or making excuses. They should be openly, collectively refusing.

  56. says

    Re #87 – a lot of them are attending, according to the report:

    Here is the list of attendees as provided by a senior US defense official:

    Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
    Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer
    Adm. Bob Burke, Vice Chief of Naval Operations
    Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, Deputy Commandant of the US Marine Corps
    Acting Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan
    Gen. Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
    Adm. Karl Schultz, US Coast Guard Commandant
    Mr. James McPherson, performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the Army
    Lt. Gen. Joseph P. Martin, incoming Vice Chief of Staff of the Army

    Diverse group.

  57. says

    “The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.”

    They confirmed yesterday that the printing was starting.

  58. says

    When you were out here thinking tanks on the mall is a profound moment in strained civilian-military relations, the president said he had influence over a military court proceeding.”

    Edward Gallagher (see #56 above) was acquitted yesterday. Today, Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family. You have been through much together. Glad I could help!”

  59. says

    “An Open Letter to the Director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum”:

    To Director Bloomfield:

    We are scholars who strongly support the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Many of us write on the Holocaust and genocide; we have researched in the USHMM’s library and archives or served as fellows or associated scholars; we have been grateful for the Museum’s support and intellectual community. Many of us teach the Holocaust at our universities, and have drawn on the Museum’s online resources. We support the Museum’s programs from workshops to education.

    We are deeply concerned about the Museum’s recent “Statement Regarding the Museum’s Position on Holocaust Analogies.” We write this public letter to urge its retraction.

    Scholars in the humanities and social sciences rely on careful and responsible analysis, contextualization, comparison, and argumentation to answer questions about the past and the present. By “unequivocally rejecting efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,” the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is taking a radical position that is far removed from mainstream scholarship on the Holocaust and genocide. And it makes learning from the past almost impossible.

    The Museum’s decision to completely reject drawing any possible analogies to the Holocaust, or to the events leading up to it, is fundamentally ahistorical. It has the potential to inflict severe damage on the Museum’s ability to continue its role as a credible, leading global institution dedicated to Holocaust memory, Holocaust education, and research in the field of Holocaust and genocide studies. The very core of Holocaust education is to alert the public to dangerous developments that facilitate human rights violations and pain and suffering; pointing to similarities across time and space is essential for this task.

    Looking beyond the academic context, we are well aware of the many distortions and inaccuracies, intentional or not, that frame contemporary discussions of the Holocaust. We are not only scholars. We are global citizens who participate in public discourse, as does the Museum as an institution, and its staff. We therefore consider it essential that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reverse its position on careful historical analysis and comparison. We hope the Museum continues to help scholars establish the Holocaust’s significance as an event from which the world must continue to learn.

    As of last night the letter had been signed by 517 scholars.

    This list has been described by one scholar as ‘a literal who’s who of Holocaust and genocide studies’ and said they were proud to be a signatory.

    It’s worth noting that Holocaust and genocide studies can be folded into other fields rather than standalone programs–not an uncommon thing–but there are literally 71 professors on this list with ‘Holocaust’ in their formal title, many of them department chairs. Incredible.”

  60. says

    Matt Shuham and Josh Kovensky’s analysis of the “chaos” preceding Trump’s July 4 farce:

    Tanks and politicos are streaming into D.C. for Trump’s July 4 celebration.

    But with two days to go, it’s chaos.

    Vendors and officials involved with organizing Trump’s “Salute to America” event — set to be held at the Lincoln Memorial — told TPM that it was hastily planned, and as of Tuesday evening, just two days before the event, the military had yet to say where the dozens of tanks that have been ferried into the city will go on July 4.

    “If any [military] assets were going to be placed anywhere or traverse city roads or city assets, we would be informed of that and help coordinate that,” Director of D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Chris Rodriguez told TPM Tuesday afternoon. “So if and when that happens, we’ll let you know.” […]

    Phantom Fireworks CEO Bruce Zoldan, whose company is donating fireworks for Trump’s Salute to America event, told TPM that “this should have been planned a lot sooner than it was.”

    “Typically, a show like this should be done six months in advance for preparation and planning,” Zoldan said.

    Yet, Zoldan said he and Phil Grucci, who runs the family firm Fireworks by Grucci, only started talking about working on a show in February when President Donald Trump tweeted that there would be a “Major fireworks display” on the Fourth. […]

    Officials involved in planning similar events suggested to TPM that the timeframe was drastically shorter than what would typically be expected for an event of this scale.

    “This is going to look very militaristic, because the only organization that can pull it together on such short notice is the military,” said Greg Jenkins, a political consultant who ran Bush’s 2004 inaugural. […]

    Other elements of the spectacle have raised eyebrows, particularly the revelation that the White House is doling out exclusive tickets to the event for its political allies via the Republican National Committee […] massive federal government resources are being devoted to a partisan political effort. […]

    TPM found that the Maryland GOP received tickets for the event, and boasted about receiving them direct from the White House.

    “Thanks to our friends at the White House, we at the Maryland GOP have tickets for President Trump’s Fourth of July “Salute to America” celebration at the Lincoln Memorial,” reads a newsletter sent out by a Maryland GOP Committewoman Nicolee Ambrose asking those interested to RSVP for the event.

    Ambrose added in the message: “I am excited to see this new approach for the 4th of July in front of the Lincoln Memorial!” […]

    In an unusual bit of choreography, the fireworks show associated with Salute to America will run directly before the annual, previously contracted fireworks show from Garden State Fireworks.

    The shows are stacked one atop the other: Trump’s event will take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the corresponding fireworks will be launched from behind the monument, on the shores of the Potomac River. Garden State’s show, which was long launched from the reflecting pool, has been moved south of that site, down to West Potomac Park. […]

    “I’m not putting that [Garden State] show down — it’s one or two shells at a time. Ours are going to be dozens and dozens at a time,” Zoldan, whose company donated fireworks to the Salute to America event, told TPM. […]

    TPM link

  61. says

    SC @81, good points. Thanks for adding that.

    Akira @80:

    Far more likely he’s just an idiot and doesn’t know anything about the equipment the military he’s the Commander and Chief of actually uses.

    Yep. That’s my conclusion too.

    SC @91, so Trump is claiming that statements from his own administration are “fake news?” Trump’s tweet claiming that he was not dropping the citizenship question on the census directly contradicts the Department of Justice attorney Kate Bailey, who confirmed that the 2020 census forms would be printed without the question. And, Trump’s claim directly contradicts Wilbur Ross, (“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”)

  62. says

    GOP congressman urges Trump to reject Supreme Court ruling on citizenship question

    “Print the census with the questions — and issue a statement explaining why — ‘because we should'”

    Republican Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision on a controversial census citizenship question, advising him to print the survey with the question regardless of the court’s ruling.

    “It’s the lawyers advising him,” Roy tweeted, evidently referring to the Supreme Court Justices. “[Trump] should ignore them. Completely. Print the Census with the questions — and issue a statement explaining why — ‘because we should.’ Done.”

    Roy, a freshman conservative lawmaker whose most famous exploit up until now has been blocking a $19 billion disaster aid package, has been a consistent supporter both of the citizenship question and of Trump’s border wall. He doubled down on his stance later Tuesday night after he was accused by Twitter users of being “lawless.” […]

    Sheesh. All the best people.

  63. says

    More fodder for the “all the best people” category:

    Heather Nauert received a salary from 21st Century Fox while working for the Trump administration

    Watchdog report shows the former State Department spokesperson reported receiving $167,000 between January 2018 and March 2019.

    Heather Nauert, President Donald Trump’s previous pick to replace Nikki Haley as United Nations ambassador, reported receiving $167,000 in “salary” from 21st Century Fox while working as a spokesperson for the State Department, according to a new report from the government ethics watchdog CREW. […]

    “Nauert was an anchor and correspondent on Fox News from August 2007 until April 2017, when she joined the State Department as a spokesperson. She reported receiving $167,000 from 21st Century Fox, which she characterized as ‘Salary,’ in Part 2 of her termination report,” CREW noted on Wednesday.

    “If Nauert’s termination financial disclosure report is correct,” the group continued, “the salary payments are problematic because the White House gave her an ethics waiver that authorized her to meet, interview, and communicate with 21st Century Fox employees.” However, that waiver, signed by former White House counsel Don McGahn, did not allow her to maintain any “continuing relationship” with her former employer outside of communications between herself and the press. […]

  64. says

    Warlord Backed by Trump Is Blamed for Bombing a Migrant Camp in Libya

    “This attack clearly could constitute a war crime.”

    A Libyan warlord who has received rhetorical support from […] Trump is being blamed for the bombing of a detention center near Tripoli that killed at least 44 migrants Wednesday.

    The warlord, Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army controls much eastern Libya, is attempting to oust the country’s UN-backed government, which blamed the attack on the Haftar’s forces. Though the LNA denied responsibly, the attack came just days after Haftar’s air force commander announced plans to intensify air raids around the Libyan capital.

    The United Nations Support Mission in Libya said Wednesday that the attack left 130 people with severe injuries. […]

    “This attack clearly could constitute a war crime, as it killed by surprise innocent people whose dire conditions forced them to be in that shelter,” the UN’s Libya envoy, Ghassan Salamé, said in a statement.

    The UN linked the bombing to “allegations of extrajudicial killing in various places” in Libya and said it hoped to help “prosecute the perpetrators” in international courts. The statement did name Haftar, but his forces have been repeatedly accused of attacking civilians.

    For years, the United States has supported a UN-led peace process in Libya and efforts by the so-called Government of National Accord in Tripoli. Trump roiled those efforts on April 15 by phoning Haftar—seemingly to offer backing for an offensive on Tripoli the warlord had launched weeks earlier. The White House said the men discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts” and “a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.” According to an April Bloomberg report citing American officials, Trump indicated to Haftar that the United States supported his assault in Tripoli. […]

    The Wall Street Journal has reported that Trump’s embrace of Haftar came at the urging of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Saudi Arabia and Egypt, along with United Arab Emirates and Russia, have supported Haftar’s forces.

  65. says

    From Wonkette: Everything About [Trump’s] TANKS GO VRRROOOM! Fourth Of July Party Is Pathetic, Illegal, Or Both

    In the olden days, before 2016, the United States America didn’t feel the need to throw chickenshit displays of military fortitude in order to find its self worth. We didn’t need it. For better or for worse, we all knew our military could kick anybody else’s military’s ass, and that we didn’t need to SAY THAT OUT LOUD ALL THE TIME. That’s called “speaking softly and having a big […] stick.”

    But that was before Donald Trump was “elected.” Now we have a commander-in-chief in name only who is projecting all his masculine insecurities into throwing a BOOM BOOM TANKS GO BOOM AIR-P’ANE! fireworks party for himself in the nation’s capital on America’s birthday. No one whose life adds anything of value to humanity will attend. […]

  66. says

    “Outcry after reports Brazil plans to investigate Glenn Greenwald”:

    Brazil’s Bar Association, journalists and opposition lawmakers have reacted with outrage to reports that the country’s federal police plan to investigate the bank accounts of an American journalist who published leaked conversations between prosecutors and the graft-busting judge who is now Jair Bolsonaro’s justice minister.

    The rightwing site the Antagonist (O Antagonista) reported on Tuesday that federal police had asked a money-laundering unit at Brazil’s finance ministry to investigate the “financial activities” of Glenn Greenwald.

    Police declined to comment on the allegation but confirmed an investigation had been launched into the hacking of cellphones that led to the leaks.

    “This seems to me like an attempt to intimidate the journalist,” said Kennedy Alencar, a leading political commentator on CBN Radio.

    “If there is an investigation for doing journalism it is illegal and it is an attempt at intimidation,” said Pierpaolo Bottini, a professor of penal law at the University of São Paulo who heads the press freedom unit at the Brazilian Bar Association.

    The leaked records – which the Intercept said it received from an anonymous source – have had an explosive impact on Brazilian politics and dominated headlines for weeks.

    On Sunday, leaks published in the Folha de S Paulo newspaper cast fresh doubts over key testimony in the case against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for graft and money laundering. Lula’s conviction removed him from last year’s presidential race.

    The leaks have enraged Bolsonaro’s supporters – crowds of whom demonstrated across Brazil on Sunday in support of Moro.

    Greenwald and his husband David Miranda, a congressman for the leftist Socialism and Freedom party, have faced a barrage of threats, slander and homophobic abuse.

    “This is what Bolsonaro and Moro are now doing: using the Federal Police they control to investigate me in retaliation for my reporting,” Greenwald tweeted.

    I should note that the original Intercept reports stated that the leaked documents had been distributed to numerous people inside and outside Brazil, so going after Greenwald won’t stop more from coming out.

  67. says

    Guardian – “‘A bad trip’: Jair Bolsonaro’s first six months leave even the right dismayed”:

    Brazil was just weeks from last year’s electoral earthquake when rock legend Lobão sat down outside his backyard studio, fired up his smartphone and announced he was backing the far-right frontrunner.

    “I’ve reached the conclusion I’m going to vote for Jair Bolsonaro,” the rightwing rocker declared in his YouTube endorsement. “Bolsonaro is the only chance of something new.”

    On a recent afternoon, however, the gravel-voiced singer sank into a chair on the same terrace and admitted to a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

    “It’s a marmalade of madness,” Lobão grumbled of Bolsonaro’s crisis-packed opening act in power which has been plagued by factional struggles, mass protests, claims of mafia ties and corruption involving his family, a cocaine smuggling scandal involving a presidential plane and damaging revelations involving his celebrity justice minister, Sérgio Moro.

    Not to mention a series of bizarre gaffes – including sharing a pornographic video with his 3.4 million Twitter followers – that have led some to question whether Bolsonaro will even see out his four-year term.

    “Not even Syd Barrett ever had such a bad trip,” Lobão said.

    Six months after Bolsonaro took office, Lobão, 61, has emerged as one of the rightwing populist’s most ferocious critics, assailing his administration in a succession of searing media appearances.

    And he is not alone in his dismay.

    Opinion polls show Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have plunged since his 1 January inauguration with 32% of Brazilians now considering his government bad or awful compared with 11% when he took power.

    More than half of Brazil now says it does not trust the president.

    “It is the worst start to a presidency since the return of democracy [in 1990],” said Mauro Paulino, the director of Datafolha, one of Brazil’s top pollsters. “A lot would depend on the opponent … but if there was another election today, I don’t think he would be re-elected.”

    Notorious for his bellicose, bile-filled rhetoric and contempt for human rights, Bolsonaro has long been a hate figure for Brazil’s left.

    But a growing number of conservative voices are also now questioning his presidency….

    It’s so typical that they have a truly horrendous and dangerous person in power and so many on the Right are concerned about this all leading to another leftwing government.

  68. says

    Here’s the link to the Intercept’s report from last month.

    “We have taken measures to secure the archive and all of its component materials outside of Brazil, so that numerous journalists have access to it, ensuring that no authorities in any country will have the ability to prevent reporting based on these materials. We intend to report on and publish stories based on the archive as expeditiously as possible in accordance with our high standards of factual accuracy and journalistic responsibility.”

  69. says

    Julie K. Brown:

    Statement from Miami Herald Exec Editor and Publisher, Aminda Marqués González, praising NY Appeals decision to unseal records in Jeffrey Epstein-related case: “We continue to believe that justice was not well served by the secrecy cloaking nearly every aspect of Mr. Epstein’s alleged sex crimes crimes – from the private meeting between Epstein’s lawyer and the U.S. Attorney n a hotel where a non-prosecution deal was apparently hatched to the blanket sealing of testimony and exhibits in resulting civil cases… We are acutely aware,…that allegations in a court file are not always true. But we are all better off when allegations as serious as those against Mr. Epstein are held up to the light rather than buried.”

  70. says

    BREAKING:

    In a major reversal, a top Justice Department official tells a federal judge that the administration is working to find a way to get the citizenship question back on the 2020 census and is considering taking the matter directly to the Supreme Court.

    Does the “Justice Department” equal “William Barr under the direct control of Trump”?

    TPM link

    The Justice Department told a federal judge on Wednesday that it had been “instructed” to try to find a way to get the citizenship question back on the 2020 census, after the Supreme Court blocked its previous effort to do so last month.

    “Instructed” by whom?

    The update came after President Trump tweeted Wednesday that previous government statements that the administration was backing down from its census citizenship fight were incorrect. U.S. District Judge George Hazel convened a teleconference hearing on Wednesday as confusion swirled around the issue. Both the Justice Department and the Commerce Department had said on Tuesday that the forms had been sent off to printers without the question on it.

    Jody Hunt, a top DOJ official, told the judge that the administration believed there may be a “legally available” path to getting the question re-added while still complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by TPM.

    Hunt said the plan, if the government goes down that route, is to go directly to the Supreme Court to get instructions on how to streamline future proceedings over its efforts to re-add the question.

  71. says

    “Fake news” from the Trump campaign that really is fake.

    Trump campaign turns to foreign stock video companies for ‘supporters’ in Facebook ads

    Donald Trump’s campaign apparently thinks stock photo models are a better look for its Facebook ads than actual Trump supporters would be. The campaign has made a series of Facebook ads featuring videos of people like “Tracey from Florida” and “T.J. from Texas,” but you have to read the very fine print to find out that it’s “actual testimonial, actor portrayal.” In other words, Tracey from Florida may have said the words in the video, but the woman in the video is not Tracey.

    Video “Tracey,” in fact, comes from a French stock video company. “Thomas from Washington” is actually sourced out of Turkey. Some Trump supporter somewhere said things like “I could not ask for a better president” and “Although I am a lifelong Democrat, I sincerely believe that a nation must secure its borders,” but maybe they weren’t photogenic enough to turn into ads, or maybe the Trump campaign isn’t into doing the work of locating and prepping real people. […]

  72. says

    Sneaky cowards.

    The Trump administration is still finding ways to undercount minority communities in 2020 Census

    A quarter of a million people are being asked the citizenship question on a test Census survey.

    The citizenship question will no longer be asked on the 2020 Census, but according to civil rights groups, the Trump administration is still finding ways to make sure African American and Latinx residents are still undercounted in the decennial survey.

    There are three main problems that will likely contribute to an undercount: the new format of the Census, an understaffing of the Census Bureau, and a test version of the Census that still includes the citizenship question and could lead to more confusion.

    Despite rolling out, for the first time, an internet-based questionnaire for conducting the count of all people living in the United States, the Trump administration has underfunded and understaffed the Census Bureau compared to previous years.

    And even though it no longer plans to include the citizenship question on the actual 2020 Census, the Trump administration is still in the process of sending out a test-version of the survey that includes the question to nearly a quarter of a million households throughout the country. […]

  73. says

    From Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:

    Internal investigations aren’t enough because the leadership at CBP, particularly Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, are too callous about the way in which children and their families are treated, which is why we need untainted professionals to be brought in from outside the CBP structure immediately.

  74. says

    Trump is dismissive of the facts, and he is clueless at the same time:

    Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses. The Democrats bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem. Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond. Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they…..

    …..came from, and in far safer conditions. No matter how good things actually look, even if perfect, the Democrat visitors will act shocked & aghast at how terrible things are. Just Pols. If they really want to fix them, change the Immigration Laws and Loopholes. So easy to do!

    …..Now, if you really want to fix the Crisis at the Southern Border, both humanitarian and otherwise, tell migrants not to come into our country unless they are willing to do so legally, and hopefully through a system based on Merit. This way we have no problems at all!

    If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved!

  75. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] Yes, against the backdrop of President Wannabe Dictator playing with his tanks, we have poll porn to share about the Democratic primary, and it is that slowly but surely, the women are taking charge. Two of them to be specific […]

    We knew Kamala Harris got a YOOGE bump out of the first Democratic primary debate, but she appears to be bumpin’ along even more than we knew […]:

    Quinnipiac poll of 2020 Democrats

    Biden 22% (-8 since last month)
    Harris 20% (+13)
    Warren 14% (-1)
    Sanders 13% (-6)
    Buttigieg 4% (-4)
    Booker 3% (+2)
    O’Rourke 1% (-2)
    Klobucahr 1% (-)
    Castro 1% (+1)
    Gabbard 1% (+1)
    Yang 1% (-)

    That is right, the spread between Harris and Biden in that poll is only TWO POINTS, and Warren is just behind in third place. Considering that the margin of error in that particular poll (full results here) is about five points, what we are seeing is a race that is no longer a frontunner and a second-placer, followed by a bunch of other people, but rather what might end up being a BARN BURNER. Or maybe Kamala Harris will just keep sailing — there’s another debate at the end of the month — and we’ll officially be talking about a new frontrunner before long.

    OR MAYBE.

    Maybe Elizabeth Warren is going to come right along with her, because she has also gotten quite the bump from last week’s debates, where she and Harris were pretty clearly judged as the winners.

    A Focus for Rural America poll of Iowa just released shows that Warren is actually right on top, but it’s a much tighter spread than what Quinnipac shows up there. In that one, Warren’s at 20; Harris is at 18; Biden is hanging on at 17 (that’s right he’s in THIRD PLACE); and Bernie Sanders picks up fourth again with 12 percent, which is about what he’s pulling nationwide in the Quinnipiac poll. In the Iowa poll, as Politico notes, Biden has dropped 20 points since last September, which was a long fuckin’ time ago. […]

  76. says

    Trump says his generals are ‘thrilled’ with his Fourth of July salute. Their silence suggests otherwise.

    Washington Post link

    […] Trump has described his Fourth of July extravaganza on the Mall as the “show of a lifetime!” and an unprecedented celebration of American military strength. […]

    Democrats complain that Trump is using the military to advance his political fortunes at considerable taxpayer expense. Trump, who never served but has sought to build a brand around American strength, says the event is intended to celebrate military sacrifice.

    “Both sides are gearing for battle and fighting for the carcass of the U.S. military, which is stuck in the middle,” said Peter Feaver, who helped oversee military policy in the George W. Bush White House.

    More than any president in modern history, Trump has ignored norms intended to keep the armed forces out of partisan fights. He has dispatched U.S. troops to the southern border and even suggested that it would be acceptable for them to open fire on unarmed migrants — a violation of the laws of war.

    He has tweeted orders at top generals in a brazen end run around the traditional chain of command and regularly refers to America’s fighting forces as “my military.” […]

    The military brass have reacted to the partisan squabbling by hiding out and hoping it all blows over. Pentagon officials have declined to provide details about the tanks, planes and other military hardware requested by the administration, referring all questions about the event to the White House.

    Both the Pentagon and White House have been mum on the cost to taxpayers, though Trump said it would be “very little compared to what it is worth.” […]

    Some former officials praised the military for its stealth response. “My advice is, don’t comment,” Feaver said. “The less senior military leaders talk about their role, the better.” […]

  77. says

    Two threads about the reversal described by Lynna @ #110 above.

    Chris Hayes: “Every single thing about the way the admin has handled the citizenship question, from its origins, to its lies before congress and courts to this latest chapter has been shot-through with egregious bad faith and mockery of the law.”

    Everything this week has been insane. This man is in another universe from being fit for the office. This thread started a few days ago, and it’s already chronicled about 25 publicly known impeachable offenses. And just evil. We’re so far beyond the point at which he needed to be impeached.

  78. says

    SC @119, Trump makes himself easy to hate, in part because he cannot be redeemed. Not by knowledge. Not by listening to experts. Not by facts. Not by arguments presented in good faith. He is irredeemable.

    He cannot be improved. He cannot be corrected.

    He hurts children. He has no remorse.

  79. blf says

    An NKofE MEP demonstrates her clewlessness and vileness, Ann Widdecombe likens Brexit to emancipation of slaves (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    […]
    Widdecombe, who was criticised this month for claiming science might produce an answer to being gay, said the UK’s departure from the EU equated to a liberation.

    She said: There is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on their oppressors, slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies against empires, and that is why Britain is leaving … It doesn’t matter which language you use, we are leaving and we are pleased to be going. Nous allons, wir gehen, we are off!

    The Brexit party’s MEP for the South East, Alexandra Phillips, tweeted: Tears in my eyes. She represents the ignored majority. Brave and principled. Our Ann.

    […]

    Guy Verhofstadt, the Brexit coordinator for the parliament, expressed his scorn at Widdecombe’s comments.

    “Nigel Farage facing some stiff competition as chief clown of the Brexit Party in the {European parliament},” he tweeted. “By the way, when Widdecombe talks about ‘colonies liberating themselves from their empires’, is she really referring to the American Revolution of 1776?”

    The Liberal Democrat MEP Martin Horwood, who also took part in the debate, said: “To imply that the United Kingdom is any way in a similar situation to the colonies of our former empire or a victim of slavery is deeply offensive. Widdecombe’s comments trivialise the suffering of those who have experienced slavery and colonialism.

    “If Ann Widdecombe had any grip on reality, she would have the sense to look at her own record on oppressing women and minorities when she defended shackling pregnant women and opposed repealing section 28.” […]

    Section 28 was a notorious homophobic NKofE law. The nazi herself, besides being a homophobe, is also anti-abortion (enslaving women to have babies (as long as they aren’t brown or black) is apparently Ok), supports the death-penalty, and seems to be a global heating denier.

  80. blf says

    New York sees significant rise in women traveling across state line for abortions (meaning to NY state from other states (eejit headline subeditor)):

    […]
    Under the Trump administration, 27 abortion bans have been signed so far this year across 12 US states […], according to the Guttmacher Institute. As a result, Choices Women’s Medical Centre in Jamaica, Queens, has already seen a significant rise in women coming to the centre for abortions from the affected states.

    […]

    New York city council recently announced a plan to pay $250,000 to New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), making it the first city in the US to directly fund abortions. Last year a third of the patients it helped were from out-of-state, and NYAAF has said the funding will help to meet the increasing demand it expects to experience from these patients.

    “Before Roe v Wade, New York City was a haven for women who wanted control over their own bodies and their health decisions,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus at New York city council. “It’s time for our city to be that beacon for the country once again.”

    […]

    Finance is the biggest issue for women seeking abortions, said Choices’ patient financial counsellor, Angelica Din. But the clinic goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure nobody is turned away — liaising with multiple organisations, including NYAAF, to find the funding for everything from accommodation to medical treatment and travel. Sometimes Merle Hoffman, president of Choices, will even fund them herself.

    Din said: “{I try} really hard to get it for them because it’s a hard decision for them and it’s not easy.”

    […]

    Before the recent wave of restrictions, which she said will affect the poor and women of colour the most, Choices would get four or five out-of-state patients coming for abortions per week. But now the figure is between seven and nine.

    Hoffman said: “It will increase as the restrictions really start to hold. Now of course there’s appeals going on, so that can stop it for a while, but the general movement to restrict women’s freedom, autonomy, moral agency and access is really out there.”

  81. blf says

    I admit it’d never occurred to me this could be a problem (despite having a somewhat atypical hair style myself), California becomes first US state to ban discrimination over natural hairstyles:

    The law prohibits employers and schools from enforcing rules against styles that would unfairly target black people

    […]

    Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace (Crown) Act into law, prohibiting employers and schools from enforcing rules against hairstyles including afros, braids, twists, and locks. Workplace policies that prohibit such styles have serious economic and health consequences, especially for black individuals, the bill said.

    “In a society in which hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race, and whether they were a second-class citizen, hair today remains a proxy for race,” the bill said. “Therefore, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.”

    [… examples of hairstyle discrimination…]

    Other jurisdictions have taken measures to prevent discrimination based on hair in recent years. The US army revised regulations to allow black soldiers to wear natural hairstyles in 2017. In February 2019, the city of New York banned restrictions on natural hair and hairstyles.

  82. blf says

    LA forms first-ever climate emergency mobilisation office:

    […] Los Angeles has institutionalised the first Climate Emergency Mobilization Department — and the first Climate Emergency Commission — on the planet.

    On Wednesday, by a vote of 13–0, the city council unanimously passed legislation to hire a Climate Emergency Mobilization Director and plan the next moves for a citywide climate emergency implementation blueprint that environmental justice groups helped craft through a series of community meetings.

    The department will address the local impacts of climate change, including wildfires and floods. It will also take up concerns surrounding pollution and the effects of toxic waste. In addition, people displaced by climate change will be able to seek employment assistance from the government.

    […]

    The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, in April released a Green New Deal for the city, putting the metropolis on course to become carbon neutral by 2050.

    […]

    Last week, New York City became the world’s biggest metropolis to join the expanding ranks of localities declaring an emergency.

    […]

    The Climate Emergency Commission is to have five representatives from affected communities; three appointees from local Native American tribes; three policy experts; two youth appointees; one labour appointee; one city council president appointee; and one liaison from the council’s Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee.

  83. says

    “Today, I’m declaring my independence.” – Justin Amash announces he’s leaving the Republican Party

    Of course, he has to have an oped in WaPo. And of course, it can’t be about what’s wrong with the Trumpist Party, but has to be a both-sides bullshit attack on partisanism and elitism and so forth. I’m not reading it, but I heard it summarized just now on MSNBC, where a Democratic strategist (!) agreed with Amash and the Republican strategist next to her. FFS.

  84. says

    Shahmir Sanni: “The fact that the Metropolitan Police are attacking the Electoral Commission for not giving them the evidence that I gave them over a year ago should have people out on the streets. I told you all that there is something rotten going on. We need a full public inquiry.”

  85. says

    Attention: ‘The generals think they are adhering to norms and doing their duty’ when they stand by the president, Dempsey said. ‘What they don’t realize is that they’re paving the groundwork for further abuse. They are making it harder for the next guy to make the right call’.”

  86. says

    Reuters (confusing headline) – “Brazil deforestation exceeds 88% in June under Bolsonaro”:

    Deforestation in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon rainforest soared more than 88% in June compared with the same month a year ago, the second consecutive month of rising forest destruction under new President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for development of the region.

    According to data from Brazil’s space research agency, deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest totaled 920 square km (355 square miles).

    The data showing an 88.4% deforestation increase is preliminary but indicates the official annual figure, based on more detailed imaging and measured for the 12 months to the end of July, is well on track to surpass last year’s figure.

    In the first 11 months, deforestation already has reached 4,565 square km (1,762 square miles), a 15 percent increase over the same period in the previous year. That is an area larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

    Environmentalists have warned that Bolsonaro’s strong remarks calling for the development of the Amazon and criticizing the country’s environmental enforcement agency Ibama for handing out too many fines would embolden loggers and ranchers seeking to profit from deforestation….

    More at the link.

  87. says

    From David Remnick, “Little Rocket Man.”

    Donald Trump is trying to conflate a patriotic celebration with his reëlection campaign.

    The national emergency represented by the Trump Presidency began on its first day, January 20, 2017. The new President’s inaugural address, written largely by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, sounded all the themes of right-wing nationalism, populism, xenophobia, phony alarm, and blatant deception that we now take as the daily lexicon of the Trump White House. And the inaugural organizers took the opportunity, as so much subsequent reporting has made plain, to turn the various events into gold-plated opportunities for profiteering and influence-peddling.

    Had Trump had his way, he would not have stopped there. Indeed, he wanted very much to add a dash of tin-pot militarism to the inaugural mix. […]

    Just before his inauguration, Trump said in an interview that the “military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.” […] Trump and the transition team discussed the possibility of including missile launchers and tanks in the inaugural parade. “They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea–style parade,” one transition source told the site.

    […] Trump tried to pull off something of the kind last Veterans Day, […]

    Finally, Trump has his way. Remember all the talk of making sure that the worst of the Trump Presidency not be “normalized”? Too late. Normalized it has become. […]

    Trump, who talks about “my generals” and “my military,” has decided to turn the normally pacific Independence Day ceremonies in the capital into a martially tinged self-branding exercise. We are watching him blow hard into the balloon of his own ego. Trump is also trying to conflate a patriotic celebration with his reëlection campaign. The White House is doling out passes to Republican donors, members of the Republican National Committee, and other supporters. […]

    And so, on the Fourth, we will watch Trump, who evaded military service by pleading phantom bone spurs, spend millions of dollars of public funds in order to enact a fantasy of martial leadership. […]

    It is undoubtedly depressing to witness a would-be American authoritarian eroding yet another norm, pushing us one more step backward, on a day that should be one of celebrating the best of us […]. There is solace in knowing that the President, for all his bravado and cynicism, is acting largely out of a sense of what looms before him—a reckoning.

  88. says

    When you can’t get your own family to come to your party ….

    […] Non-attendees include Ivanka, Jared, and Trump Jr—all of whom would prefer to go lounge in their Hampton’s vacation homes than swelter with Trump in D.C. […]

    Link

  89. says

    So Trump went to the DMZ and met with Kim, and Trump stepped into North Korea with his “love.” And then what happened?

    North Korea had this to say:

    It is quite ridiculous for the United States to continue to behave obsessed with sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK, considering sanctions as a panacea for all problems […]

  90. says

    Excerpts that were released ahead of time from Trump’s speech:

    […] today, we come together as one nation with this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States military! […]

    Today, just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it. As long as we stay true to our cause — as long as we remember our great history — and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future — then there will be nothing that America cannot do. […]

    You knew you didn’t want to watch that, right? Now your decision is confirmed. Irony meters will be broken, and lies will be told.

    Also, and this is most horrible, Trump was scheduled to speak for about 20 minutes. Now he is scheduled to talk for an hour.

    Trump is assuring people, via Twitter, that his stroke-my-ego event will be “worth the trip and worth the wait.” No. It won’t.

  91. blf says

    SC@144, hair furor also seems to have confused / conflated the 1770’s war with the 1812 war, Flight of fancy: Trump claims 1775 revolutionary army took over airports: Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.

    And has anyone deciphered army manned the air? (At least it is possible to ram ramparts, and he didn’t say (in the quoted passage) my army).

  92. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    BLF,
    No idea about the army manning the air (it was over a decade before even the first balloon flights!), but I hear Frederick Douglas has been doing a great job lately, plus he makes a great covfefe under glass.

    Seriously, how does anyone take this guy seriously?

  93. Rob Grigjanis says

    blf @145: “manned the air” is probably a reference to taking over the many British-run radio stations which were spewing their pro-King George, anti-American fake news near the airports.

  94. tomh says

    In a News Release issued Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new directive on Religious Symbols in VA Facilities

    The new policies will:

    Allow the inclusion in appropriate circumstances of religious content in publicly accessible displays at VA facilities.

    Allow patients and their guests to request and be provided religious literature, symbols and sacred texts during visits to VA chapels and during their treatment at VA.

    Allow VA to accept donations of religious literature, cards and symbols at its facilities and distribute them to VA patrons under appropriate circumstances or to a patron who requests them.

    The new policies are in response to a suit filed two months ago by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation against a VA Medical Center in New Hampshire that included a Bible in the lobby display.

  95. says

    Followup to comments 144 through 147.

    Trump explains his butchery of history: His Revolutionary War-era teleprompter screwed up.

    […] “I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter…it was actually hard to look at anyway, ’cause it was rain all over.”

    Let’s say we believe him for a minute, even though we should never believe anything Trump says without reams of corroboration. If we believe Trump that the teleprompter went out and he had to ad-lib the rest of the sentence … what we’re still looking at is Trump having the Army taking over airports in 1775 or 1776. That may exonerate his speechwriter, but it doesn’t exonerate Trump himself.

    So we’re supposed to believe that the teleprompter went out toward the beginning of that sentence, before the airports part, and that Donald Trump himself summoned the spontaneous rhetorical flourish of “under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.” Yeah, no. We’ve heard Trump talk way too much to believe that his brain would produce those words in that order with any amount of preparation, let alone when taken by surprise when a teleprompter failed.

    Nice try, Donald, but nope.

    (Oh, and Fort McHenry wasn’t constructed until 1798. Before airports, but after the Revolutionary War. That rocket’s red glare stuff? That was the War of 1812.)

    Link

  96. says

    Some reactions on Twitter to Trump’s butchery of history:

    My dear Frederick, They continue to hold us prisoner. All we have been given to eat are small portions of miniature pretzels, and no ale or mead. They torture us with stories of some mythical being called a “beverage cart,” yet it does not appear.
    —————–
    They were a scrappy bunch of misfits who just wanted to take their water bottles through the TSA checkpoint.
    ——————
    These Americans truly are savages. Gate 2C’s Starbucks carries nary almond nor soy milk and I fear our lactaid supplies shant last the night.
    – Horace#RevolutionaryWarAirports
    ——————
    Dearest Abigail,
    I fear my return home to our tiny town of Boston be later than expected. The Union had to check our blunder busts and bayonets with Delta and ended up in Confederate hands on the redeye to Louisiana. But we did get a $10 food voucher
    ——————
    Gen. Washington:

    We’ve got the British surrounded. But we have news from France that the layover at JFK is terrible, and they’re not sure if they can give us the aid we need. We just can’t compete with British Airways; they outfly us at every turn.
    ———————-
    Dearest Betsy:

    It was the most hellish of flights across the Potomac. I sat beside a gentleman extolling the virtues of The Mad king. He wore a red cap emblazoned with the slogan ‘Make the Colonies Great Again’.Next time I‘ll take a boat.

    Love George
    ——————–
    One if by Land.
    Two if by Sea.
    Three if by the Delta Shuttle from LaGuardia.

    ~Paul Revere
    ——————-
    My Darling Son, As you embark on this treacherous journey with General Washington, don’t forget to keep your seatbelt buckled even when the light is turned off. You Loving Mother.

    Also, see Rob’s comment 147.

  97. says

    Trump retweeted artwork showing Abraham Lincoln’s face morphing into his. Stuff of nightmares.
    https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1146953117323468801

    From Aaron Rupar:

    […] His deification of the military also felt more like something you’d see in Pyongyang or Moscow than along the National Mall in Washington, DC.

    But at least Trump didn’t use the Lincoln Memorial as a prop to deliver the campaign-style screed some expected. Such are the things that qualify as normal in the Trump era.

  98. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] we hear some guy is trying to turn the whole thing into a party for himself today, but the heck with him. Yr Wonkette is a sucker for ritual and habit — possibly a side effect of a Catholic upbringing — and one of our own personal favorites is when NPR reads the Declaration of Independence every year. We’re glad they don’t redact the racist bit about King George stirring up the “merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” It’s good to be reminded the Founders didn’t really consider everyone equal. […]

    And so for your Fourth of July, we present thoughts on the holiday from some people who have given the nation and its founding a good deal more thought than the doofus reading from a teleprompter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial […]

    We looked up some Mark Twain quotes on the Fourth of July, and were surprised to find America’s most gloriously ambivalent patriot was mostly horrified at the routine carnage wrought by idiots with fireworks, as in this bit from remarks to the American Society in London, in 1899:

    The business aspects of the Fourth of July is not perfect as it stands. See what it costs us every year with loss of life, the crippling of thousands with its fireworks, and the burning down of property. It is not only sacred to patriotism and universal freedom, but to the surgeon, the undertaker, the insurance offices — and they are working it for all it is worth. […]

    [There] will be noise, and noise, and noise, all night long, and there will be more than noise — there will be people crippled, there will be people killed, there will be people who will lose their eyes, and all through that permission which we give to irresponsible boys to play with firearms and firecrackers and all sorts of dangerous things. […]

    More at the link.

    Mark Twain must have been in my neighborhood last night, where firetrucks roared past, and where my neighbors, despite explicit laws, sent exploding devices into the air over suburbia well into the wee hours.

  99. blf says

    ‘Biggest compliment yet’: Greta Thunberg welcomes oil chief’s ‘greatest threat’ label:

    […]
    Greta Thunberg and other climate activists have said it is a badge of honour that the head of the world’s most powerful oil cartel believes their campaign may be the “greatest threat” to the fossil fuel industry.

    The criticism of striking students by the trillion-dollar Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) highlights the growing reputational concerns of oil companies as public protests intensify along with extreme weather.

    Mohammed Barkindo, the secretary general of Opec, said there was a growing mass mobilisation of world opinion against oil, which was “beginning to … dictate policies and corporate decisions, including investment in the industry”.

    He said the pressure was also being felt within the families of Opec officials because their own children “are asking us about their future because … they see their peers on the streets campaigning against this industry”.

    Although he accused the campaigners of misleading people with unscientific arguments, the comments were welcomed by student and divestment campaigners as a sign the oil industry is worried it may be losing the battle for public opinion.

    “Thank you! Our biggest compliment yet!” tweeted Thunberg […].

    “Brilliant! Proof that we are having an impact and be sure that we will not stop,” said Holly Gillibrand, who was among the first students in the UK to join the global climate strikes.

    Opec […] is planning to expand production, which is undermining efforts to slow global heating. The backlash is not just from students, Extinction Rebellion activists and climate scientists.

    Insurance companies — which have the most to lose from storms, floods, fires and other extreme weather — are increasingly pulling investment from fossil fuel assets. […]

    […]

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of wealthy countries, has also taken a more strident tone in calling for government to put a higher price on oil, gas and coal, to end subsidies and to rethink fossil fuel investment.

    […]

    In the past two weeks, temperature records have been broken in France, Alaska and Cuba; there have been wildfires in Germany, Spain, Sweden and Anchorage; Chennai is among more than a dozen Indian cities running out of water; Russia is experiencing historic floods; Mexico experienced freak hailstorm that left Guadalajara streets more than a metre deep in ice; while the Chinese meteorological agency said records had been broken at 40 weather stations.

    […]

  100. blf says

    A variety of items from the Grauniad’s current States live blog:

    17:46 [… Hair furor] said the Fourth of July celebration in Washington DC was fantastic and would lead to more people joining the US military. […]

    16:08 [… Hair furor] told reporters he is thinking of issuing an executive order to force including a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census […]

    15:44 […] It’s centre-left, that’s where I am, [Joe Bribeon] said of the Democratic party. […]

  101. blf says

    Lynna@152, “last night […] firetrucks roared past, and where my neighbors, despite explicit laws, sent exploding devices into the air over suburbia well into the wee hours.” I lost power. For several hours. I haven’t found the remains of the explosive shell which caused it, but if I do, I’ll be happy to return it (provided the mildly deranged penguin lets me use her trebuchet). She’s not surprised one of “your” aerial explosives made it over the pond to France. That is, she claims, very short range. You should hit Jupiter to be noticed (how do you think the Great Red Spot formed?).

    Of course, in ten-ish days time it’s France’s turn to lob shells…

  102. says

    The DoJ (of the United States) submitted a filing today basically saying they’re still considering concocting another bullshit rationale for including the citizenship question on the census but that they have yet to come up with anything.

    Now, “JUST IN: U.S. District Judge George Hazel orders discovery to start today in #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuits in Maryland. ‘Plaintiffs’ remaining claims are based on the premise that the genesis of the citizenship question was steeped in discriminatory motive’, Hazel writes.”

  103. blf says

    There was an article(? opinion column?) in the Grauniad very recenty about teh NKofE hair furor punching bore being a threat to minorities / immigrants — which I cannot find now — but here is an example, Johnson pledges to make all immigrants learn English:

    […]
    Boris Johnson has said there are too many parts of our country where English is not spoken as a first language and that he would require all immigrants to Britain to learn English.

    […]

    I want everybody who comes here and makes their lives here to be, and to feel, British — that’s the most important thing — and to learn English. And too often there are parts of our country, parts of London and other cities as well, where English is not spoken by some people as their first language and that needs to be changed.

    Anyone who does not speak Ingerlish when teh boristapho comes calling will be sent to the reeducation camps. Especially if they have brown or black skin, or speak funny (e.g., a Scottish or other European accent).

  104. tomh says

    @ #157
    How long does it take them to come up with a dozen or so new lies? Heck, Trump can do that for them before breakfast.

  105. says

    Vox – “Mississippi is forbidding grocery stores from calling veggie burgers ‘veggie burgers'”:

    It’s been a good few months for the plant-based meat movement — so good that opponents of the fledgling industry are starting to mobilize.

    This week, a new law went into effect in Mississippi. The state now bans plant-based meat providers from using labels like “veggie burger” or “vegan hot dog” on their products. Such labels are potentially punishable with jail time. Words like “burger” and “hot dog” would be permitted only for products from slaughtered [animals – SC]. Proponents claim the law is necessary to avoid confusing consumers — but given that the phrase “veggie burger” hasn’t been especially confusing for consumers this whole time, it certainly seems more like an effort to keep alternatives to meat away from shoppers.

    “The plant-based meat alternative category is on fire right now, with consumers demanding healthier and more sustainable options,” Michele Simon, the executive director of the Plant-Based Foods Association, said in a statement. “This law, along with similar laws in several other states, is the meat lobby’s response.”

    The makers of meat alternatives are suing. In a lawsuit filed on July 2, they argue that since their products are already labeled “vegan,” no consumers are confused. If anything, the requirement that they avoid product descriptions like “veggie burger” makes things more confusing.

    “There is no evidence that consumers are confused by plant-based bacon or veggie burger labels, and federal laws are already in place that prohibits consumer deception,” said Jessica Almy, director of policy at the Good Food Institute, an organization that works on expanding access to plant-based foods. “This law is a tremendous overstep of state powers.”

    This legal fight matters. Labeling laws like these have been discussed around the country, and courts will soon debate whether they’re constitutional. At the same time, federal regulators are looking to the states for cues about labeling laws for plant-based meat. Aggressive prohibitions could slow the growth of plant-based alternatives, which are badly needed….

    More at the link.

  106. says

    Guardian – “USA’s formidable women’s soccer team is no accident. It’s a product of public policy”:

    On Sunday, USA will play the final of the Women’s World Cup against the Netherlands, and there’s a good chance the Americans will win. Victory would bring a fourth world title for the US women’s team – there have only been eight World Cup competitions in history.

    The talent pool for female soccer players in America appears bottomless. The American women are so talented that players who would be starters for other countries, such as the forward Christen Press, frequently find themselves on the bench. The US has found itself with a huge number of phenomenally talented female soccer players: how did we get them?

    In large part, we got them through policy, in particular the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Shepherded into law by Congresswoman Patsy Mink of Hawaii, the title IX provision of the act was a response to feminists’ push to close a loophole in the Civil Rights Act of 964 that allowed federally funded schools, colleges and universities to discriminate by sex. Title IX was intended to prohibit this kind of discrimination, and it applied to all educational programs and all aspects of a school’s operation – including sports.

    Title IX was controversial from the beginning….

    By demanding that schools provide opportunities for young girls to play sports and mandating that universities provide equal scholarship funding for women, title IX created opportunity and incentive for girls to play sports. Suddenly, not only were energetic, athletic girls given the same opportunities to play as the boys were, but they also had the opportunity for their sporting talent to fund their educations through scholarships.

    Participation shot up. In 1972, when title IX was passed, there were only 700 girls playing soccer at the high-school level in the whole United States. By 1991, the year of the first Women’s World Cup, there were 121,722 high school girl players – a 17,000% increase. That number has more than doubled since: in 2018, there were 390,482 high school girl soccer players. The success of the women’s team will keep inspiring young girls to enter sports, so this number will probably keep growing.

    Nearly 50 years after title IX became law, a generation of women has reaped the benefits of institutional support, professional development and education that the law provides, and many of them have gone on to successful athletic careers. Those careers were made by policy: title IX effectively turned the American education system into the world’s most successful women’s sporting development organization. The success story of women’s sports under title IX shows how marginalized groups can be given opportunities through policy interventions; how the talents and passions of individuals can be fostered when they have institutional support.

    When USA faces off against the Netherlands, Americans can cheer not just for the accomplishments of the soccer players on the field, but for the success of a law whose fundamental principle is that women’s and girls’ potential is worth investing in.

  107. says

    “Trump’s ‘natural law’ human rights panel readies for launch”:

    The Trump administration plans to officially launch a new panel on human rights as early as Monday — one already under scrutiny from Democrats who fear its stated focus on “natural law and natural rights” could undercut protections for women and LGBTQ people around the world.

    State Department officials are briefing officials in Washington this week on the unveiling of the “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” a body with as many as 15 appointees who will offer advice on human rights policy to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. At least 10 of the people have been chosen so far, and their names are expected to be revealed at the launch, according to people familiar with the issue, who noted that the launch plans could still change.

    The panel was conceived with almost no input from the State Department’s human rights bureau, people familiar with the matter say, effectively sidelining career government experts who have focused on human rights policy and history across numerous administrations.

    In a notice posted in the Federal Register in May, the State Department said the panel “will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

    The State Department has been relatively vague about the panel’s functions, insisting it will decide how to define terms like “natural law and natural rights.” Activists and lawmakers have been alarmed by that language, because both terms have been used in a variety of ways — from core foundations of modern philosophy to arguments used by some religious opponents of same-sex marriage.

    They’ve also focused on the group’s expected focus on the “nation’s founding principles,” and whether it means the panel would ignore international human rights agreements hammered out over decades….

    Supporters of the Trump administration’s new panel say they hope it will reclaim the concept of human rights from groups that have taken it too far.

    “Thanks to a growing emphasis on ‘economic and social rights’ — the banner under which many ‘social justice’ campaigners march — international human rights has become mired in social-policy goals and terminology,” Aaron Rhodes, president of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe, wrote in a Wall Street Journal column applauding the new panel last month.

    “We’ve seen a proliferation, and consequent dilution, of human rights,” he added. “When human-rights advocates campaign for a ‘human right to sanitation,’ it diverts our attention from basic rights like freedom of speech or freedom from torture.”…

    First, Trump explicitly supports torture and calls the press the enemy of the people. Second, I love how these people consider the right to free speech more basic than, say, the right to clean water. Lot of good speech does you if you’re dead.

    The commission’s draft charter, first published by Just Security, says the panel will have no more than 15 members, meet once a month and cost roughly $385,000 a year to operate. Some lawmakers are already trying to use the appropriations process to prevent the commission from receiving any funding.

    Yes! Do this!

  108. says

    Intercept – “Scandal for Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister Sergio Moro Grows as the Intercept Partners With Brazil’s Largest Magazine For New Exposé”:

    On June 9, the Intercept began reporting a series of exposés about unethical and corrupt behavior by then-judge Sergio Moro, now the powerful Justice Minister for President Jair Bolsonaro, based on a massive archive of secret documents provided to us by an anonymous source. As the Guardian reported on Wednesday regarding retaliatory investigations launched by Moro’s Federal Police against us in an attempt to intimidate and punish us for this reporting, our articles “have had an explosive impact on Brazilian politics and dominated headlines for weeks.”

    Once revered across the political spectrum, Moro – widely regarded as the linchpin of the Bolsonoro government’s credibility – is now engulfed in a deepening scandal….

    But today’s events have elevated Moro’s crisis to an entirely new level. The largest weekly newsmagazine in Brazil is the center-right Veja, which has been one of Moro’s most vocal and devoted supporters for years, repeatedly putting his image on their influential covers in heroic postures. But now, Veja is also our new partner in reporting on the archive, and this morning – in partnership with us – published a devastating cover story that lays out in all-new detail, with multiple newly released private conversations involving Moro, how pervasive, sustained and comprehensive was his corruption.

    This 8-page cover story features some of the most incriminating leaked conversations yet, demonstrating that Moro’s misconduct was not sporadic or episodic but, in the words of the article, “reveals how Moro abused his judicial function as part of a cabal, commanding the actions of the prosecutors of Car Wash.” In sum: “the communications analyzed by the Veja reporting team are true and the story shows that the case is even more grave than previously known.”

    The Guardian today – in an article headlined: “Calls grow for Bolsonaro ally to quit after ‘devastating’ report on leaks” – explains that “Moro is facing renewed pressure to resign after the country’s leading conservative magazine waded into a snowballing scandal over his role in a mammoth anti-corruption investigation that helped reshape South America’s political landscape.”

    Perhaps even more significantly is the magazine’s extraordinary “Note to Readers,” in which they explain why they concluded it was their journalistic duty to expose Moro’s corruption after years of applauding him; detailed the journalistic methods used to authenticate the material; and unflinchingly described why Moro’s conduct as a judge is a grave threat to the rule of law and the pillars of democracy.

    On the front page of its widely read site, the magazine accuses Moro not merely of engaging in unethical or improper acts – the words we have used thus far to describe his behavior – but also “illegal” ones. That Brazil’s largest center-right magazine, in partnership with the Intercept, is now explicitly accusing Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister of “illegalities” – based on detailed accusations proven by Moro’s own words in secret – is as significant as journalism gets.

    Perhaps most amazingly, Veja candidly acknowledges, and clearly appears to regret, its own role in helping Sergio Moro construct a public image as some sort of super-hero, a high priest of ethics and propriety who was beyond reproach – a myth that, as we all now know, was deeply deceptive….

    In sum, Veja – along with the Intercept and Folha – has devoted massive editorial resources to exposing Moro’s misconduct in defense of a simple but crucial principle, as described by its letter to its readers: “Ultimately, nobody is above the law.” Ironically, that motto was, for years, the rallying cry of Moro’s supporters, and it is now the principle that is finally bringing serious accountability to his own grave misconduct.

    This new article demonstrates – comprehensively and with finality – that the true chief of the Car Wash prosecutions was the same person who pretended to be, and was ethically obligated to be, the neutral judge: Sergio Moro, now the most powerful official in the Bolsonaro government, overseeing vast powers of surveillance, investigation and law enforcement previously dispersed among various agencies but now all consolidated under his control. Moro’s conduct was a serious corruption of the judicial system – not only for the defendants whose rights he violated but for all future defendants who are in jeopardy of a legal system that no longer requires the most basic obligation to ensure credibility and legitimacy: a neutral, impartial judge.

    …The threats from Moro and the Bolsonaro government – including the abuse of the Federal Police commanded by Moro to investigate our finances – will, needless to say, not deter the reporting in the slightest.

    Quite the contrary: this new joint article with Veja, published 48 hours after news broke of the Federal Police retaliation against us, is a major advancement of our originally stated goal. With respect to the part of this story concerning Moro’s unethical, improper collaboration with the prosecutors, this latest article – on the cover of Brazil’s highly influential center-right weeky news magazine – reveals just how comprehensive, reckless, and sustained Moro’s misconduct was.

  109. says

    SC @166, Joyce had that right. So now the Trump campaign has to pay taxpayers back for the cost of that Lincoln Memorial backdrop, the flyovers, etc. Right?

  110. Kip Williams says

    Lynna, I have every confidence that this administration will treat that debt with the same consideration Trump has historically given to any contractor or employee to whom he owes money for services provided.

  111. says

    Nick Cohen in the Guardian – “When ‘respectable’ conservatives bow to the far right it’s always disastrous”:

    The far right does not seize power. It is invited in to power by mainstream conservatives, who boast of their commitment to free societies. They do it for partisan gain. They do it because they hate and fear the left more than they hate and fear the far right. But most of all they do it because they have run out of ideas. The energy and the votes appear to lie with radical rather than “respectable” conservatives. The future is extreme, and, like prostitutes turning a trick, conservatives would rather lose their respectability than their chance of staying in the game.

    Leftish condemnations of “neoliberalism” miss that the Thatcher/Reagan ideology of the 1980s is over. Conservatives rarely admit it, in public at any rate, but an idea is still dead even if no one turns up for the funeral. Who can now pretend hopes that a small state and free markets would bring prosperity to the mass of people are anything more than a hollow joke? The 2010s have been the worst decade for wage growth in 200 years. The real value of average wages has still not staggered back to its 2007 level. The web’s enabling of fake news gets all the attention. But if it had never been invented, there would still have been a reaction against the emptiness of the promises of the old ruling order.

    Put yourself in the place of the conservatives who thought Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s certainties would sustain them. They have learned the lesson of the 2010s that fear beats hope. They have heard the audience cheer when they bash immigrants and the EU, and fall silent when they talk of compromise and tolerance. They wonder what would happen if its rage were directed at them rather than convenient scapegoats.

    Is an endorsement of a Trump, Salvini, Farage or Orbán such a high price to pay in these circumstances? Traditional conservatives can mock them in private and drop careful hints in public that they come from an altogether classier version of conservatism. But when the choice has to be made, they will go with them rather than fight them. Better that than become a historical curiosity: the left-behind of rightwing politics.

    In Britain we have the abject figures of George Osborne, Matt Hancock and Damian Green who know a no-deal Brexit is a disaster but are endorsing Boris Johnson because they want his patronage. Journalists who claim to understand Johnson say he is at heart a liberal. Assuming he has a heart, he may be, but his motives no longer matter. He played with fire to become prime minister, and must keep fanning the flames if he is to survive. Like many others, he found that the way to win was to direct hatred at the EU. He will discover that the way to avoid a reckoning with the failures of the old order will be to keep anger directed at foreigners….

    (Of course, they’ve also long stood for authoritarianism, oppression, and violent class rule, so for many it’s not exactly a huge leap.)

  112. says

    blf @155:

    […] She’s not surprised one of “your” aerial explosives made it over the pond to France. […]

    I too am not surprised. A lot of firepower was evident in my neighborhood. Moreover, my neighbors seem to think that the entire month of July is for firing red rockets into the air. They were at it again last night.

    If you find the shell of the explosive device that took out your power, you can keep it. Don’t send it back. I fear my neighbors would just reload it and … boom!

    One of my dear relatives suggested that at 11:00 PM I shout, “Knock it the fuck off!” at the top of my lungs. (That’s what she did in her thinly populated neighborhood, which is actually more rural than mine. I only have one adjacent horse pasture. She has many.) However, I would be yelling at at least ten families within a two-block radius … probably with no effect whatsoever.

  113. says

    Russian’s mocked Trump’s militaristic Fourth of July fascist farce.

    An American military parade? Color Russia unimpressed.

    According to the Washington Post, reporters from the state-owned Rossiya 1 channel greeted President Donald Trump’s July 4 display of tanks and jets with scorn.

    “The greatest parade of all times is going to be held today in Washington, that is what our Donald Trump has said,” journalist Yevgeny Popov, who co-hosts Rossiya 1’s “60 Minutes” program, said sarcastically. “The American president announced he would show us the newest tanks.”

    Olga Skabeyeva, the show’s other co-host, also mocked Trump’s tanks, saying that “the paint on these vehicles is peeling off.”

    “There are no cannons, and their optics have been glued on with adhesive tape,” she said.

    The Post’s report also mentioned Skabeyeva pointing out the hypocrisy of Americans holding a military parade being seen as a show of patriotism while military parades in Russia are seen as dictatorial.

    “Americans are allowed to hold a parade because theirs is democratic, but we are not allowed because ours is chauvinistic,” she said.

    Skabeyeva also tweeted a video of the tanks being transported to the National Mall, where Trump held the event.

    “Putin’s America,” she wrote with a laughing emoji.

    TPM link

  114. says

    The Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Organized a “Free Speech” Rally in DC Today. It Flopped.

    A botched handcuff metaphor, B-list speakers, sweltering heat, and a big police presence.

    Gavin McInnes, founder of the neo-fascist group the Proud Boys, was struggling to break apart toy handcuffs he had brought onstage. He planned to use them as a metaphor for breaking the chains of what he considers to be the rampant stifling of free speech. “Okay, these are a lot stretchier than I thought they would be,” he confessed to the audience at Saturday’s Washington, DC, rally organized by the Proud Boys and the alt-right. He kept spreading the elastic handcuffs, but they wouldn’t break.

    McInnes’s botched metaphor took place during a free-speech rally that neo-fascists and members of the alt-right had gathered for at Freedom Plaza, just blocks away from the White House. […] Organizers had talked a big game before the rally, but it all lost momentum even before the official events began. Big names in the far-right internet community including Pizzagaters Jack Posobiec, Mike Cernovich, and the failed grifter and energetic troll Jacob Wohl, were all scheduled to speak but dropped out. […]

    The speakers who did end up on stage were a collection of less renowned characters, such as YouTuber Joey Salads, whose accomplishments include wearing a Swastika armband to a Trump rally as a part of a “social experiment” and faking another video meant to make Trump opponents look bad, and YouTube “CopperCab,” of Gingers Do Have Souls viral fame, who screamed obscenities at the crowd and shoved the event’s MC and Gavin McInnes as he entered and left the stage.

    […]. “I may have been the first person in history [to be] completely banned from Tinder,” unironically screamed one of the speakers, who wore a MAGA hat and a suit in the sweltering July heat. […]

    “I think it’s important to counter the protest no matter how sad the original protest is, just to show that people care,” said one counter protester named Matt, who didn’t want his last name shared out of professional concerns. “They’re here for show, and I think they know it.”

  115. says

    From Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware:

    Several times many of us who have worked across the aisle on this issue have been deeply frustrated by the ways in which President Trump, after initially saying he would welcome a proposal, gets criticized for a day or two by the right wing and then reverses himself and campaigns against it or threatens to veto it.

    My concern here is that we’ve got an administration that has intentionally used cruelty to children as a tool of immigration policy. I’ll remind you that their zero tolerance policy that forcibly separated children from their parents at the border a year ago was a humanitarian disaster and faced a bipartisan outcry of both Republicans and Democrats.

    So they don’t have a lot of moral authority to stand on in arguing that they would like Congress to give them an unlimited ability to detain children and their parents at the border.

    The quoted text is excerpted from an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program.

  116. says

    Joe Biden finally apologized.

    Was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again? Yes, I was. I regret it. And I’m sorry for any of the pain or misconception I may have caused anybody.

    From the readers comments:

    He hasn’t apologized to Booker yet, for saying “Cory knows better. He should apologize”.

    Cory was right. Biden was wrong, and finally admitted it.
    ——————-
    This is an important and welcome concession from Biden. His gaffe prone tongue and the dragging out of this matter has cost him dearly, and he will have to do a re-set. […] It’s also important b/c he had been attempting to gaslight Harris on this. She didn’t back down. She and her team successfully forced the debate back on to the real issue of Biden’s voting record and public statements on segregation when it mattered, and he folded (which was the right thing to do both morally and politically).
    —————–
    Yes, yes you were wrong. Now give a hint of why you realize you were wrong beyond understanding that politically it was a dumb move – and why you clung to you statement even when it’s impact was pointed out to you. Otherwise, no, no I don’t believe you really understand why what you said really was wrong.

  117. says

    Leaked British Diplomatic Cables Discuss Trump’s “Dysfunctional” White House

    “We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal.”

    “I don’t think this Administration will ever look competent,” the British ambassador to the United States wrote in a scathing assessment of President Donald Trump’s White House in the summer of 2017. The confidential memo by Sir Kim Darroch is part of a trove of leaked diplomatic cables published this weekend by the British newspaper the Daily Mail. The dispatches from Darroch to officials in London cover a period from 2017 to the present, and include blunt observations on the “uniquely dysfunctional environment” of the Trump administration, as well as how easily the president is influenced by pandering and flattery.

    “We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” one of the cable says. In another message, Darroch, a diplomat with 29 years of experience, describes Trump as “radiating insecurity.”

    The British Foreign Office has not challenged the authenticity of the documents. “Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government,” a spokesperson said, according to the Daily Mail. “But we pay them to be candid. Just as the US ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.” The Foreign Office told the BBC that it will investigate how the cables were leaked.

    The British ambassador notes deep rifts between the countries’ positions on climate change, trade, and international diplomacy. Yet he also observes how to best influence Trump. It is less about making an evidence-based case, than appealing to the president and his staff’s ego:

    It’s important to ‘flood the zone’: you want as many as possible of those who Trump consults to give him the same answer. So we need to be creative in using all the channels available to us through our relationships with his Cabinet, the White House staff, and our contacts among his outside friends.

    Darroch’s advice for how to flatter Trump: “You need to start praising him for something that he’s done recently. You need whenever possible to present them as wins for him.” He added that they make their points “simple, even blunt.” After Trump visited Buckingham Palace in June, the ambassador reported “his team were also dazzled, telling us that this had been a visit like no other—the hottest ticket of their careers.” […]

    So far, I don’t see that the White House has commented on the leaked cables.

  118. says

    Trump misleadingly says prescription drug prices have gone down

    I would put that more bluntly. Trump lied when he said prescription drug prices have gone down.

    [Today, Trump] wrongly claimed drug prices declined in 2018, saying bipartisan cooperation on the issue would “get big results.”

    “Last year was the first in 51 years where prescription drug prices actually went down, but things have been, and are being, put in place that will drive them down substantially,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “If Dems would work with us in a bipartisan fashion, we would get big results very fast!”

    In January, Trump tweeted a similar claim, this time saying it was the first time “in nearly half a century” drug prices declined and touting the administration’s efforts to streamline the path to market for generic drugs. Drug price increases in 2018 were smaller and less frequent than in years past, which Health and Human Secretary Alex Azar touted around the same time.

    However, a September analysis by the Associated Press found 96 price hikes for each price reduction in the first seven months of 2018, and drug manufacturers increased prices for 1,026 drugs by a median of 6 percent in January, according to STAT News.

    Politifact, the fact-checking website, also rated Trump’s tweet “mostly false.”

    This claim rates Mostly False. Nationally, spending on drugs has continued to climb, even if that growth has slowed.

    The tweet follows comments to reporters by Trump on Friday in which he said the administration would announce a “favored-nations clause” to reduce drug prices, in which the amount the government paid for any given drug would not be more than the lowest amount other nations or companies pay.

    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification […]

  119. says

    Crowd Chants ‘F*ck Trump’ During Fox News Broadcast Of Women’s World Cup.

    TPM link

    A Fox News journalist giving a live broadcast in a sports bar in France didn’t go unnoticed by the Americans who were right there with him on Sunday.

    Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot was reporting from a sports bar in Lyon, France, where jubilant Americans were celebrating U.S. national women’s soccer team’s victory in the Women’s World Cup.

    Palkot began with “We are here in a sports bar in Lyon, France–” before he was promptly cut off by the crowd’s chants of “Fuck Trump! Fuck Trump!”

    Palkot tried to speak over the yelling, which lasted over ten seconds.

    A few minutes later, the reporter spoke to random members of the crowd how they felt about the game.

    “Did you have any doubt that they would lose?” Palkot asked the man who started the chants (it’s unclear if Palkot knew he had done so).

    “None, none whatsoever,” the man responded. “Now we need to win in 2020. Democrats!”

    “USA Democrats!” a woman wrapped in an American flag cheered.

    “Get that racist out of the White House!” the man yelled into Palkot’s mic.

    For his part, Palkot seemed to take it all in stride.

    “They are very happy,” he said with a smile. “It’s a political thing too, as you can see.”

    The U.S. national women’s soccer team beat the Netherlands 2-0, with soccer star Megan Rapinoe scoring one of the goals.

    Rapinoe, an openly gay athlete who’s also very outspoken against President Donald Trump, ignited the President’s rage in late June after she said that she’s “not going to the fucking White House.” […]

  120. says

    Thread on the reshuffling of the Trump team handling the census citizenship question case:

    This is the sure sign we’re going to get some DOJ filings of the highest integrity and professionalism this week.

    Remember that @aclu @dale_e_ho just moved for sanctions/estoppel against the government for maintaining throughout this case that June 30 was a hard deadline to finish litigating the issue, and now suddenly changing position.

    We saw last week what a rough position the Trump-induced flip-flopping was putting the career lawyers in. If this DOJ has any decency, it will send political appointees to face the music for this politically contrived mess.

    This is particularly perilous situation for govt lawyers who want to protect their integrity and reputation. Not only are they likely going to be asked to make ludicrous arguments on the merits, they probably will have to mislead about what they said before and why they said it.

    This is really intriguing. Looks like maybe the leadership of DOJ Federal Programs (which usually would have representation here) declined to go along with this farce, but Consumer Protection Branch (!) volunteered to take over. [Because what are they doing these days anyway? – SC]

    It sure seems like the lawyers who are withdrawing know too much to make the representations they’re going to be asked to make. I hope the lawyers who replace them keep that in mind in assessing the propriety of those representations.

    For those who haven’t spent time at DOJ, this is just incredibly unusual to reassign a high-profile defense away from Federal Programs (the elite trial lawyers who _specialize_ in such defense) in this manner.

  121. says

    Cong Eric Swalwell (D-CA) has cancelled his NH campaign swing, flew home to California and will be making an announcement this afternoon related to his presidential campaign. Most believe he is withdrawing from the race … and possibly announcing he will instead seek reelection.”

    Wise decision.

  122. says

    AP – “Federal grand jury probing GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy”:

    A federal grand jury in New York is investigating top Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, examining whether he used his position as vice chair of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee to drum up business deals with foreign leaders, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press and people familiar with the matter.

    A wide-ranging subpoena the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn recently sent to Trump’s inaugural committee seeks records relating to 20 individuals and businesses. All have connections to Broidy, his investment and defense contracting firms, and foreign officials he pursued deals with — including the current president of Angola and two politicians in Romania.

    Prosecutors appear to be investigating whether Broidy exploited his access to Trump for personal gain and violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to offer foreign officials “anything of value” to gain a business advantage. Things of value in this case could have been an invitation to the January 2017 inaugural events or access to Trump.

    The Brooklyn probe appears to be distinct from an inquiry by Manhattan federal prosecutors into the inaugural committee’s record $107 million fundraising and whether foreigners unlawfully contributed.

    It followed a request last year by Democratic U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut that the Justice Department investigate whether Broidy “used access to President Trump as a valuable enticement to foreign officials who may be in a position to advance Mr. Broidy’s business interests abroad.”…

    More at the link.

  123. says

    CNN – “Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein accused of paying girls as young as 14 for sex”:

    Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a criminal indictment Monday charging billionaire Jeffrey Epstein with having operated a sex trafficking ring in which he sexually abused dozens of underage girls, allegations that have circulated around the politically connected businessman for years.

    According to the indictment, between 2002 and 2005, Epstein ran a trafficking enterprise in which he paid hundreds of dollars in cash to girls as young as 14 to have sex with him at his Upper East Side home and his estate in Palm Beach, worked with employees and associates who would lure the girls to his residences and paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse.

    “In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit, often on a daily basis,” the US Attorney’s office said in a press release.

    The court document unsealed Monday describes a predatory pattern in which girls were taken to a room in Epstein’s New York mansion, where they were instructed to give him a massage, during which he would during which he would escalate his physical contact with his alleged victims — at times groping and fondling their genitals.

    Epstein or his associates would pay each girl a sum in cash, and if a girl lured others to Epstein’s residences, he would pay both the “victim-recruiter” and the new girl hundreds of dollars, according to the indictment.

    The case against him is being prosecuted by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, which typically handles cases involving public funds or government officials….

    They appear to be updating the report in real time. It refers to the Miami Herald investigation which “noted Epstein’s close connections to powerful figures, including Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.”

  124. says

    They want to detain him pending trial – think he’s a “significant flight risk.”

    They’re calling on any other victims or people with information to call the FBI hotline and offering their unreserved support.

    At the time they arrested him, they executed a search warrant on his home, and found (among other things) nude photos of what appear to be underage girls.

    They’re not commenting on any unindicted people.

    Berman credits ‘excellent investigative journalism’ for helping with their investigation. Quite a boost for @jkbjournalist and the Miami Herald.”

  125. blf says

    SC@193, Who are you talking about? The reference to “nude photos of what appear to be underage girls” suggests, at the current time, Epstein, but that is simply an interference. And leaves open who “They” (mentioned multiple times) are, albeit context suggests that means at least one of law enforcement, campaigners against child p0rn, and investigative journalists.

  126. says

    From the New York Times:

    Iran said on Sunday that within hours it would breach the limits on uranium enrichment set four years ago in an accord with the United States and other international powers that was designed to keep Tehran from producing a nuclear weapon.

    The latest move inches Iran closer to where it was before the accord: on the path to being able to produce an atomic bomb.

    From Steve Benen, writing for the Maddow blog:

    […] It’s breathtaking just how spectacular Trump’s failure is. He took an international agreement that was working exactly as intended, ignored the pleas of our coalition partners, blew up the policy for no reason, and created a national security threat that was otherwise contained.

    We’re left with the world’s most easily avoidable mess. All Trump had to do was nothing. A comprehensive solution was already in place, having the desired effect. […]

    Looking ahead, the American president doesn’t seem to have any policy at all, and as Politico noted in a good piece yesterday, the White House “has few options when it comes to curbing Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.”

    The same article quoted an administration official saying, “Fundamentally, we want them to stay in the deal.”

    […] The Trump administration is arguing, in effect, that the United States can ignore the deal with Iran, but Iran should honor it anyway – just because it’d be our preference.

    Indeed, in some ways, it’s even worse than that. New White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement last week, “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

    So let me see if I have this straight. The Trump administration not only wants Iran to honor an agreement the United States has abandoned, it also wanted Iran to meet the obligations of the deal before it existed.

    For his part, the Republican president may not have a policy, but he has a pitch, telling reporters two weeks ago that if Iran were willing to forgo a nuclear weapons program, “they are going to have a wealthy country, they’re going to be so happy, and I’m going to be their best friend.” […]

    Trump’s posture is incoherent […] wants diplomatic talks with Iran, which would receive economic relief and a diplomatic win, in exchange for inspections and an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

    Sound familiar?

    As Chait concluded, “The notion that Iran would become rich was the chief conservative complaint about the nuclear deal. Now it’s Trump’s promise.”

    Link

  127. says

    As the Washington Post’s JM Rieger wrote, the Trump administration has changed its story on the census citizenship question at least 10 times.

    Washington Post link

    Originally, it was supposed to help the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act. Then the Supreme Court said that was a pretext.

    It would not be used for immigration enforcement. Then it could be used to deal with the “burden” of undocumented immigrants.

    It would not be used for congressional redistricting. Then it could be.

    The administration would not challenge the Supreme Court ruling blocking a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Then it decided it would.

    President Trump’s renewed push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census has again thrown his administration, which until last week had gone nearly four months without a White House communications director, for a loop. In the interim, Trump and his officials have undercut one another’s public statements as well as the administration’s legal arguments for adding a citizenship question. […]

    In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said no census data could be used for immigration enforcement.

    Then, on Friday, acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli said the citizenship question would help “financially and legally with the burden of those who are not here legally.” Forty-eight hours later, Cuccinelli reinterpreted that claim.

    “That’s taken on an aggregated basis. That’s not individualized data that comes to us,” he said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

    After the administration asserted for months that the citizenship question would not be used for congressional redistricting, Trump said Friday that the question was needed for redistricting.

    Asked Sunday whether Trump had undercut his administration’s legal argument — that redistricting was not a reason for adding the question — Cuccinelli simply said that “there are many reasons” for adding it.

    One day after Ross and the Justice Department said the census form would be printed without the controversial question, Trump again contradicted them in a tweet and said the census would include the question.

    Just hours later, two Justice Department attorneys phoned in to a conference call with a federal judge to explain the administration’s next steps.

    One attorney told the judge that the administration would continue printing the 2020 Census without the citizenship question, saying, “As of now, the basis for the citizenship question is firmly enjoined, vacated and does not exist.” Minutes later, the second attorney weighed in.

    “We at the Department of Justice have been instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census,” Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt said. “We think there may be a legally available path under the Supreme Court’s decision. We’re examining that, looking at near-term options to see whether that’s viable and possible.”

    Four days later, the Justice Department announced it was swapping out its lawyers on the census case. No reason was given.

    The farce continues.

  128. says

    blf:

    SC@193, Who are you talking about? The reference to “nude photos of what appear to be underage girls” suggests, at the current time, Epstein, but that is simply an interference. And leaves open who “They” (mentioned multiple times) are, albeit context suggests that means at least one of law enforcement, campaigners against child p0rn, and investigative journalists.

    Yes, Epstein. The FBI found photos of nude likely underage girls in Epstein’s NY mansion when they executed a search warrant upon his arrest. I meant to preface that with “Summary of the SDNY Epstein press conference:” and forgot, but…I’d referred to the case @ #s 186, 188, and 189 just above,

  129. says

    No, no, no. Ronald Reagan never said, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with The President.” The fake quote was being pushed hard online, with the quote posted over an image of Reagan meeting Trump.

    Trump retweeted it, characterizing it as “Cute!”

    […] According to PolitiFact, the image was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

    Joanne Drake, chief administrative officer of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, told PolitiFact that despite the Nov. 1987 photo’s authenticity, Reagan “did not ever say that about Donald Trump.”

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-reagan-quote-fact-check

    From the readers comments:

    “With God as my witness, when I felt that young man’s clammy hand, an image of Lucifer passed through my mind, so real as to make me nauseous. I immediately called on my Secret Service detail to collect holy water from all the nearby Manhattan churches so I could bathe in it, and exorcize his malign influence from my aging body.”
    ———————-
    Is this where the dementia was passed to a new generation?

  130. says

    Ah, yes, the rat’s nest of Russians behaving badly …

    Arrests in Libya linked directly to sanctioned Butina fundraiser

    Two Russians picked up for allegedly planning to interfere in Libya’s upcoming vote are linked to a sanctioned Russian raising money for Maria Butina’s defense.

    […] The two men, Maxim Shugalei and Alexander Prokofiev, have denied any attempt at interference. But both have direct links to an organization run by Alexander Malkevich, a Russian national sanctioned by the U.S. specifically for his prior attempts at targeting Americans with online disinformation via the online site “USA Really.”

    American authorities have tied the “USA Really” site directly to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a sanctioned Russian national close to the Kremlin who allegedly oversaw Russia’s 2016 online disinformation campaign.

    Malkevich has since left “USA Really,” but now leads the Foundation for the Protection of National Values — a Russian group for which Shugelai and Prokofiev were both working in Libya.

    According to Bloomberg, Libyan authorities discovered a series of laptops and memory sticks connected to the men, identifying them as working with a group called “Fabrika Trollei,” or “Troll Factory.” A letter from the state prosecutor of the internationally-backed Tripoli government noted that the “Fabrika Trollei” specialized “in influencing elections that are to be held in several African states.” The AP noted that Shugelai has previously been linked to Russian attempts to interfere in Madagascar elections. […]

    Those fundraising efforts for Butina’s American lawyers are ongoing, and include Alexander Ionov, a Russian national who helped build links between Russia and American secession groups in states like Texas and California.

    More details at the link.

  131. says

    From United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet:

    As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions. […]

    Detaining a child even for short periods under good conditions can have a serious impact on their health and development — consider the damage being done every day by allowing this alarming situation to continue. […]

    In most of these cases, the migrants and refugees have embarked on perilous journeys with their children in search of protection and dignity and away from violence and hunger. When they finally believe they have arrived in safety, they may find themselves separated from their loved ones and locked in undignified conditions.

    This should never happen anywhere.

  132. says

    From Wonkette:

    The New York Times and El Paso Times co-published a major report Saturday, detailing awful conditions at a Border Patrol processing facility in Clint, Texas. The story, based on interviews with current and former Border Patrol agents and officials, as well as others who have seen the Clint facility firsthand, confirmed earlier reports that immigrant children were left in overcrowded cells and that babies were left in the care of somewhat older children, if by older you mean “eight.” It also described conditions similar to those found by Homeland Security’s inspector general at other facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.

    So naturally enough, the Trump administration went on TV to insist it’s all a lot of hooey, and the liar in chief said the Times story was a hoax. There are no real problems in the border facilities, at least none that can’t be solved by WALL, […]

    the investigation called conditions at Clint “the stuff of nightmares.”

    Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. […]

    “It gets to a point where you start to become a robot,” said a veteran Border Patrol agent who has worked at the Clint station since it was built. He described following orders to take beds away from children to make more space in holding cells, part of a daily routine that he said had become “heartbreaking.”

    There’s a lot more, including details of an internal Customs and Border Protection report that called attention to the overcrowding and health problems (bizarrely, after noting children had been held for weeks, some without brushing their teeth or showering, that inspector concluded the facility was “in compliance with standards”). […]

    Warren Binford, one of the lawyers who visited Clint weeks ago, recounted the experience of a teen mother who asked for medicine for her baby, who had a fever. When she was arrested, agents threw away all her possessions, including meds and diapers for the baby (a practice documented at other facilities in a May DHS Inspector General report). When she asked for more medication, Binford said, agents told the mother, “Who told you to come to America with your baby, anyway?”

    One veteran agent confirmed to the Times that older children were routinely asked to look after infants and toddlers, because there weren’t any adults available to do it:

    “We have nine agents processing, two agents in charge of U.A.C. care and we have little ones that need their diapers changed, and we can’t do that,” the agent said. […]

    There’s much more; as we say, read the whole piece to see what a goddamned abomination is being perpetrated in our names.

    Thank goodness none of that actually happened, because Donald Trump said it didn’t. […]

    The Fake News Media, in particular the Failing @nytimes, is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the Border Detention Centers. First of all, people should not be entering our Country illegally, only for us to then have to care for them. We should be allowed to focus on United States Citizens first. Border Patrol, and others in Law Enforcement, have been doing a great job.

    See? That’s far more reliable than some made-up newspaper story, because that’s the “president” of the USA. Trump added, as usual, that the overcrowding — which is real, but it’s very CLEAN overcrowding — is all the fault of Democrats who refuse to end “loopholes,” like the very existence of asylum and due process. […]

    Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan also took to the TV this weekend to insist there may be some overcrowding, but nothing worse […]

    “Inadequate food, inadequate water and unclean cells. None of those have been substantiated.”

    There is food and water and we hose out the cells, so let’s not nitpick about whether the kids have clean clothes, blankets, a mattress, or nutritious food. Sure, in Clint, the food is a constant diet of oatmeal and ramen and frozen burritos, maybe cooked, maybe not, because there’s no kitchen. But it is food. Besides, as the same guy who said the entire story is a hoax said just days ago, the immigrants brought all this on themselves.

  133. says

    Also from Wonkette:

    Donald Trump is very upset. After regaling a wet audience full of nobody important on the Fourth of July with tales of America’s heroic airport conquests in the Revolutionary War, he went off to do whatever he wants, with nobody who loves him, which means his sadness and frustration came out via Twitter, his only true friend.

    He thanked himself for the stock market’s performance, which has nothing to do with him.

    Yes, he did that. Trump tweeted: “Our Country is the envy of the World. Thank you, Mr. President!” He is using Twitter to thank himself.

    Trump also complained about Fox News. Wait. What? Trump TV, the propaganda source for Trump, did not praise Trump enough?

    Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams […] and the crew of degenerate Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian & Steve tell them to do. Like CNN, NBC is also way down in the ratings. But @FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats & even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as a “source” of information (ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe, & what they sold it for (lost 1.5 Billion Dollars), or their old headquarters building disaster, or their unfunded liability? @FoxNews is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!

    […] we think we get the gist of what it took you three dementia tweets to say right there! You’re mad at Fox […]

    I think the tweets were Trump’s attempt to prove British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch entirely correct on every point in those leaked cables.

  134. says

    Trump just tweeted:

    “I have been very critical about the way the U.K. and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit. What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way. I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well….

    ….thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him. The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!”

  135. KG says

    As Lynna, OM says@210, Trump’s tweets amply confirm the ambassador’s opinion of him. His tantrum actually poses a dilemma for the current and likely future Prime Ministers: do they keep Darroch in place, even though Trump is now in such a snit he appears to be ordering everyone to join him in it, or remove him, proving they are craven Trump toadies. So it’s likely that someone who wants to undermine Johnson is responsible. But since he is so widely disliked and despised, particularly by those who know him best, that leaves rather a large set of suspects! The “journalist” to whom the information was leaked, Isabel Oakeshott, is close to Farage and to Arron Banks, so this may well be a move within the Brexiteer camp – Johnson and Farage both have gargantuan egos, so although a pact between them has been mooted, I think they are bound to clash.

  136. says

    “Felix Sater to testify after missing previously scheduled appearance”:

    Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Donald Trump who was the chief negotiator for the defunct Trump Tower Moscow project, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    The closed-door interview will cap a protracted back-and-forth between Sater and the panel, which has rescheduled his appearance several times since he was first slated to appear in March.

    Sater failed to appear for a voluntary appearance before the committee last month because he was sick and slept through his alarm, he told POLITICO at the time. Sater previously said his attorney, Robert Wolf, was already in Washington for the planned interview but the committee issued a subpoena anyway.

    Wolf maintained in a statement that Sater couldn’t attend last month’s interview due to “unexpected health reasons” and said Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s decision to issue a subpoena was “entirely unnecessary.”

    But a committee aide pushed back at the time, saying in a statement that “neither Sater nor his attorney advised the committee of his unexpected absence until moments before the interview was set to begin, and the committee is still not aware of any health reasons for his absence.” The aide added that the panel had requested documents from Sater that he had not provided, which further justified the subpoena.

    Sater says he has handed over the requested documents, including phone records….

  137. says

    “Barr: Mueller’s Hill testimony will be ‘public spectacle’”:

    Attorney General William Barr on Monday accused Democrats of trying to create a “public spectacle” by subpoenaing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress about the Russia investigation.

    In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Justice Department would support Mueller if he decides he “doesn’t want to subject himself” to congressional testimony. Barr also said the Justice Department would seek to block any attempt by Congress to subpoena members of the special counsel’s team.

    There’s no indication that Mueller does not wish to appear before Congress. But he put lawmakers on notice that any testimony he gives will not go beyond his 448-page report that was released in April. At a news conference in May, Mueller said the team chose the words in the report carefully and that the work speaks for itself.

    “I’m not sure what purpose is served by dragging him up there and trying to grill him,” Barr said. “I don’t think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn’t want to.”…

    Barr is a total sleaze and should be immediately impeached.

  138. says

    Tim Kaine: “Acosta must go. He handed a sweetheart deal to a serial sexual predator. Survivors of Epstein’s abuse have been denied their day in court for too long. I’m thankful other prosecutors stepped in to finally deliver justice.”

  139. says

    Politico – “Dems to pursue criminal contempt for William Barr, Wilbur Ross over census”:

    House Democratic leaders plan to move forward with criminal contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas for documents related to the 2020 census, senior Democratic aides said Monday.

    Being held in contempt by Congress will be an embarrassment for the Trump administration officials but it won’t lead to many tangible consequences.

    The Justice Department is almost certainly not going to charge the attorney general or another cabinet secretary with a crime. In fact, DOJ has urged officials not to comply with the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s subpoenas, which seek information related to the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

    Last month, the committee formally reported its contempt report for Barr and Ross to the full House, citing them for both criminal and civil contempt after the Democrat-led panel voted to authorize the actions. It remains unclear whether the House will go to court to enforce the subpoenas.

    But in a letter to colleagues on Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will take action “soon” on contempt….

  140. says

    AP – “Barr sees a way for census to legally ask about citizenship”:

    Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees a way to legally require 2020 census respondents to declare whether or not they are citizens, despite a Supreme Court ruling that forbade asking the question.

    In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census query. Barr would not detail the plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question on census forms.

    Barr said he didn’t have details on why the attorneys didn’t want to continue, but “as far as I know, they don’t think we are legally wrong.”

    Barr said he has been in regular contact with Trump over the issue of the citizenship question. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” the attorney general said. He said he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”…

  141. says

    TPM – “WH Blocked Key Mueller Witness From Testifying More Than 200 Times”:

    Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff to White House counsel Don McGahn and a crucial witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, found herself blocked from replying to questions from a House panel more than 200 times because of “constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

    The 55-page list of responses from Donaldson records 212 separate assertions of the clunky phrase, which appears to demand confidentiality without formally asserting executive privilege.

    Donaldson issued the responses after House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) subpoenaed her, along with former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, for testimony and documents in May as part of the panel’s probe into possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

    Across the responses, Donaldson replied with the same boilerplate statement that the White House had asserted that the subject of the response was confidential.

    “The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated,” the statement reads….

  142. says

    “Sunday shows’ signature panels continue to privilege conservative voices”:

    There were over five times as many right-leaning signature panels on the major Sunday political news shows as left-leaning panels in the first half of 2019, according to a Media Matters study. Across the Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC, 33% of panels included more conservative than progressive guests, while just 6% of panels tilted left. Of the remaining panels, 61%, were balanced, featuring the same number of left-leaning and right-leaning guests.

    NBC’s Meet the Press continued to be the most ideologically imbalanced show in the study, which ran from January 6 through June 30: It featured right-leaning panels 63% of the time and left-leaning panels just 8% of the time. In total, 15 out of its 24 panels tilted right, just two leaned to the left, and seven were balanced.

    Conservative panels outweighed both neutral and left-leaning panels on Fox News Sunday as well: 50% of the panels tilted right while just 8% tilted left. In total, 13 out of 26 panels were right-leaning, two leaned left, and 11 panels were balanced.

    ABC’s This Week and CBS’ Face the Nation tended to favor neutral guest panels. However, right-leaning panels on these shows still outnumbered left-leaning ones. Seven panels on This Week were right-leaning (27%), two were left-leaning (8%), and 17 were balanced (65%). On Face the Nation, five panels were right-leaning (23%), just one was left-leaning (5%), and 16 were balanced (73%).

    CNN’s State of the Union has consistently featured two right-leaning and two left-leaning guests on all of its 2019 panels so far. While the panels were balanced, it’s worth noting that there wasn’t a single neutral guest on the show’s panels.

    The makeup of these Sunday show panels follows a long-established trend on these shows of privileging conservative voices. As we approach the 2020 election, it is increasingly important that Sunday shows correct their partisan imbalance, which threatens to distort voters’ understanding of the political landscape.

    That first paragraph is a disaster. The values for the conservative-leaning and balanced panels are the reverse of what the chart immediately below shows (I don’t know which is correct), and the “Of the remaining panels” language is wrong and makes no sense.

  143. says

    Re #223: as someone pointed out on Twitter, the Media Matters analysis found that Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press had a stronger rightwing bias than Fox News Sunday.

  144. says

    New DOJ team on census cases appears to be your typical array of attorneys from the Office of Immigration Litigation and the Civil Frauds Division, headed by the new political head of Consumer Protection and Civil AAG Jody Hunt’s Senior Counsel. Business as usual.

    But don’t worry: I’m sure this crack team was chosen because of their many years of expertise in the Administrative Procedure Act and issues related to the census.

    Curious: For some inexplicable reason, it appears that no one from the Aviation, Space & [Admiralty] Section was available and willing to come aboard.”

  145. says

    NEW: The ACLU is contesting the withdrawal of DOJ lawyers from the census litigation, saying the rules require the govt to articulate ‘satisfactory reasons’ for making the change and arguing they’ve failed to do so”

  146. says

    SC @221:

    Barr said he has been in regular contact with Trump over the issue of the citizenship question.

    That right there is the problem.

  147. says

    Thread with video clips about the impending investigation into the Darroch leak.

    Chris Matheson: “Isn’t it about time we put a stop to these people who are undermining the way that British politics works?”

    Carole Cadwalladr: “Talking of Russia…Lord Ashcroft’s yacht has now left Novorossisyk & is cruising through the Kerch strait, a militarily sensitive area next to Crimea. I mean I’m sure it’s just a jolly hols, but it’s surely worth a question? He literally pays Oakeshott’s salary.”

  148. says

    SC @218, (and in subsequent comments concerning Trump’s attorney general, William Barr):

    Barr is a total sleaze and should be immediately impeached.

    What Barr said:

    What we’re looking at is: What was the predicate for conducting a counterintelligence investigation on the Trump campaign? How did the bogus narrative begin that Trump was essentially in cahoots with Russia to interfere with the U.S. election?

    From the Washington Post:

    He describes the idea that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia as a “bogus narrative.” But he’s not talking about the broader political debate over it; he’s talking about it in the context of law enforcement. He’s tacitly ascribing the “bogus narrative” to the investigators. […]

    This is a guy who sounds like he developed strong feelings long ago — before, even he has admitted, he was privy to all the information — that the collusion investigation was unfounded and launched for suspicious purposes. And his commentary to this day is consistently uncharitable to the law enforcement personnel who serve beneath him.

    Barr has no integrity.

  149. says

    Trump talked about the environment yesterday:

    I spoke to certain countries, and they said, “Sir, we’re a forest nation.” I never thought of a country – well-known countries: “We’re a forest nation.” I never heard of the term “forest nation.” They live in forests and they don’t have problems.

    One was telling me that his trees are much more susceptible to fire than what they have in California, but they don’t have fires because they manage, they clean, they do what you have to do. There’s not so much to burn. And we’re going to start doing that. And it’s called, remember, “management.” It’s called “forest management.” So it’s a very important term.

    When I went to California, they sort of scoffed at me for the first two weeks and maybe three weeks, and not so much — four weeks. And after about five weeks they said, “You know, he’s right. He’s right.”

    No California officials said that Trump was right. No environmentalists said that he was right. Finland and Norway did not say that he was right. So-called “forest nations” mocked Trump with internet memes of their citizens vacuuming the forest floor the last time he trotted out that nonsense.

    As Steve Benen said, “Reality be damned.”

    Note the “Sir” before the first lie. That “Sir” is a tell. Trump is signaling that what follows will be a lie. Daniel Dale noticed this before. There’s an entire category of “Sir” lies in Trump’s repertoire.

    Trump’s use of the term “management” is also a tell. He uses it as a substitute for the lack of details, lack of actual plans, in any blather he spouts. The situation at the US-Mexico border, that alone proves that Trump is one of the worst managers of all time.

  150. says

    “Trump ‘dossier’ author grilled by Justice Department watchdogs: sources”:

    Federal lawyers probing the origins of the investigation of ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign have interviewed the author of a “dossier” that alleged misconduct between Trump and Moscow, prompting the lawyers to extend their inquiry.

    Three attorneys from the Inspector General’s office of the U.S. Department of Justice met in person in early June with dossier author Christopher Steele in Britain, said two sources with direct knowledge of the lawyers’ travels.

    The interview with Steele, a former top spy on Russia for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, took place while Trump was in London for a formal state visit with Queen Elizabeth and a meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

    The Justice Department’s inspector general has been examining the earliest stages of an FBI investigation of Trump, his former 2016 presidential campaign rival Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Russia and former Trump adviser Carter Page.

    Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose office is an internal Justice Department watchdog, launched his probe in March 2018 amid allegations by Republican lawmakers that the FBI erred in seeking a warrant to monitor Page.

    In [April], Attorney General William Barr…told a congressional committee that the Horowitz probe would be completed by May or June.

    One of the two sources said Horowitz’s investigators appear to have found Steele’s information sufficiently credible to have to extend the investigation. Its completion date is now unclear….

  151. says

    A DOJ official says that Barr has consulted with career ethics officials at DOJ and he will not recuse from the Jeffrey Epstein case in SDNY, @evanperez reports.

    Barr has been & will remain recused from any retrospective review of the resolution of the earlier case in Florida.”

  152. says

    I keep wishing that the number of Democratic presidential candidates will decrease. But no.

    One guy, Swalwell, withdraws and, lo, another guy enters the race.

    Billionaire Tom Steyer announced that he is running.

    At least Steyer is not running as a third party candidate. That would be worse.

  153. says

    Followup to comment 233.

    From Mark Sumner, “Trump’s environmental policy is a loser, so he’s decided to fix it—by lying even louder.”

    On Monday, Donald Trump spent an hour reeling off information about his “stewardship” of the environment. And, as The New York Times notes, that hour was so riddled with lies, half-truths, and deliberately misleading statements […]

    Trump allowed more dumping of mining wastes into streams and rivers; revoked the Clean Power Plan provisions against emissions of particulates; sent the EPA to court to fight against its own rules on heavy metals from power plants; overturned rules on the release of methane gas; and kept pesticides on the market known to cause breast cancer. And all that was in just his first six months. Under Trump, the EPA has become a cruel joke, as scientists have given way to fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists, and rules meant to protect the public have been replaced with gifts meant to boost his billionaire supporters.

    […] Trump came out on Monday, accompanied by the collection of industry lobbyists he’s put at the head of the nation’s agencies, to explain how superenvironmental he really is.

    […] Trump leaned heavily on two of the catch phrases he’s spouted since taking office, claiming that he has promoted the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water. As the Times reported in an extremely Times way, “Experts watching the speech said many of the president’s claims were not based in fact.”

    Instead, what Trump spewed was a mixture of laying claim to accomplishments that had been achieved under Obama and dismissing the very real environmental degradation caused by his own policies. […]

    Trump declared he was a “protector of public land” even as he has opened those lands to unprecedented levels of drilling, mining, logging, and development—including simply giving away millions of acres. […]

    His claims to “crystal clear water” come not only after he has allowed more mining wastes to be dumped directly into streams and rivers, including those used for drinking water in many communities, but also after he’s crushed regulations concerning toxic coal ash impoundments. And just as the biggest rollback of clean water regulations since the Clean Water Act is going into effect—including moves to roll back regulations that kept factory farms from dumping massive amounts of untreated animal waste directly into public waterways. Trump’s “clear waters” also don’t appear to extend to the oceans, where Trump has moved to allow drilling along the coasts.

    On the air pollution front, Trump didn’t just lie about his own pro-pollution efforts; he also lied about the effects, claiming American leadership on greenhouse gases that doesn’t exist. […]

    But even as Trump was lying about his cleanest soot and crystal clear sludge, he was completely avoiding the issue that’s really moving the dial in the polls: the climate crisis. […]

    But Trump is moving ahead on plans both to roll back regulations on power plants and automobiles, and to promote more drilling and fracking. […] if you’re going to tell a lie, it might as well be a big one.

  154. KG says

    Stephen Yaxley-Lennon has been re-convicted of contempt of court for filming defendants in a trial and encouraging vigilante actions against them. He is likely to be sentenced to prison (but my guess is it will be a sentence of months rather than years). Yaxley-Lennon, absurdly, has issued a plea to Trump to grant him political asylum saying, apparently:

    I feel I am two days away from being sentenced to death, in the UK, for journalism – today I call on Donald Trump, his administration, and the Republican party to grant me and my family political asylum in the USA.

    Why the absurd hyperbole of “sentenced to death” isn’t clear – perhaps he thinks he’ll be murdered in prison, but in fact, he’d probably find plenty of supporters there. How he could claim asylum also isn’t clear. I think he’s on bail, so I suppose he could try an Assange, hiding in the US embassy, but even in his current snit with the UK government, would Trump let him stay?

  155. says

    Natasha Bertrand reporting on #234 in Politico – “Trump dossier author Steele gets 16-hour DOJ grilling”:

    Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the infamous “dossier” on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was interviewed for 16 hours in June by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    The interview is part of an ongoing investigation that the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has been conducting for the past year. Specifically, Horowitz has been examining the FBI’s efforts to surveil a one-time Trump campaign adviser based in part on information from Steele, an ex-British MI6 agent who had worked with the bureau as a confidential source since 2010.

    Horowitz’s team has been intensely focused on gauging Steele’s credibility as a source for the bureau. But Steele was initially reluctant to speak with the American investigators because of the potential impropriety of his involvement in an internal DOJ probe as a foreign national and retired British intelligence agent.

    Steele’s allies have also repeatedly noted that the dossier was not the original basis for the FBI’s probe into Trump and Russia.

    The extensive, two-day interview took place in London while Trump was in Britain for a state visit, the sources said, and delved into Steele’s extensive work on Russian interference efforts globally, his intelligence-collection methods and his findings about Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who the FBI ultimately surveilled. The FBI’s decision to seek a surveillance warrant against Page — a warrant they applied for and obtained after Page had already left the campaign — is the chief focus of the probe by Horowitz.

    The interview was contentious at first, the sources added, but investigators ultimately found Steele’s testimony credible and even surprising. The takeaway has irked some U.S. officials interviewed as part of the probe — they argue that it shouldn’t have taken a foreign national to convince the inspector general that the FBI acted properly in 2016. Steele’s American lawyer was present for the conversation.

    …[T]he extensive interview with Steele, and the investigators’ sense that he offered new and important information, may dampen expectations among the president’s allies who’ve claimed that Steele’s sensational dossier was used improperly by the bureau to “spy” on the campaign….

    I’d urge everyone to read the transcript of Page’s 2017 House Intel testimony.

  156. says

    Jeremy Hunt:

    “@realDonaldTrump friends speak frankly so I will: these comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country. Your diplomats give their private opinions to @SecPompeo and so do ours! You said the UK/US alliance was the greatest in history and I agree…

    …but allies need to treat each other with respect as @theresa_may has always done with you. Ambassadors are appointed by the UK government and if I become PM our Ambassador stays.”

  157. says

    Politico – “House Dems set to subpoena Kushner, Sessions and 10 other Mueller witnesses”:

    The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday to authorize subpoenas for 12 of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s witnesses — including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his former deputy Rod Rosenstein, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former chief of staff John Kelly and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

    Each of the witnesses provided crucial testimony to Mueller about Trump’s efforts to thwart the Russia investigation, and the committee’s efforts are certain to meet resistance from a White House that has already blocked testimony from senior aides like former White House Counsel Don McGahn and former longtime adviser Hope Hicks.

    The barrage of subpoena authorizations represents a major expansion of the committee’s Trump-focused investigation, casting a wider net from obstruction of justice to hush-money payments. The committee has faced repeated resistance from the White House as it investigates obstruction of justice allegations against the president.

    A majority of the committee’s Democrats already favor launching formal impeachment proceedings against the president, and the number is likely to grow after Mueller testifies next week before the Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

    The subpoena targets include two executives of American Media, Inc. — Dylan Howard and David Pecker — who testified about Trump’s alleged hush-money payments to a woman who accused him of an extramarital affair before the election. And it includes current and former Trump administration officials Rick Dearborn, Jody Hunt and Rob Porter.

    The list also includes Keith Davidson, an attorney who previously represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen orchestrated a $130,000 payment to Daniels to buy her silence over an alleged affair with Trump….

    Though the current and former White House aides are likely to refuse to comply with the committee’s demands, that decision is more complicated for figures like Lewandowski, who has had no official role with the Trump White House yet remains a top confidant of the president….

  158. says

    Vicky Ward:

    One of the young women who spoke to me about Jeffrey Epstein 16 years ago emailed me last night.

    “Shocked and elated,” she said. “Fingers crossed they all finally go down.”

    Amen to that.

  159. says

    I hadn’t seen Trump’s tweets today about Darroch (evidently retweeted by the WH):

    “The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was…

    …handled. I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far…

    ….and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger…..Thank you, Mr. President!”

  160. says

    Adam Schiff:

    Trump is going to court today to dismantle the entire ACA. Again.

    Pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansion, staying on parent’s plans.

    All. Of. It.

    We’ll fight in the courts.

    We’ll push to expand coverage for all Americans.

    We won’t let the GOP roll back all our progress.

  161. KG says

    Your diplomats give their private opinions to @SecPompeo and so do ours! – Jeremy Hunt, quote by SC@242

    Well I knew our governemnt was subordinate to Trump, but I’m shocked to learn that British diplomats are reporting to Pompeo! Still, at least that identifies the source of the leak :-p

    A lot of Grauniad commentators are blaming the leak on Johnson or his cronies, saying it will make it easier for him to put his own appointee into the Washington embassy. I don’t see it: a new PM could put their own appointee in anyway, or Johnson could simply wait to the end of the year, when Darroch was expected to move anyway. And Hunt, even with those mealy-mouthed words, is putting pressure on Johnson to say something similar, or out himself as Trump’s Mini-me (which we already know, of course, but to announce it to the world and his dog won’t look good). My candidate is still Farage, or his paymasters.

  162. says

    I don’t understand why the advice of the career DoJ ethics officials, and its basis, isn’t required to be public. Barr can say he consulted with them, but we don’t know what they advised or why or whether he followed it. Ridiculous.

    I also don’t understand how in 2019 someone can have as much money as Epstein does and no one can really say where it came from.

  163. says

    KG:

    Well I knew our governemnt was subordinate to Trump, but I’m shocked to learn that British diplomats are reporting to Pompeo!

    I noticed that, too! (Also that somehow no one around Hunt could show him how to thread tweets.)

  164. says

    From the Associated Press:

    Jeffrey Epstein has hobnobbed with some of the world’s most powerful people during his jet-setting life. Future President Donald Trump called him a “terrific guy.” […]

    The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager’s interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct.

    From Trump in 2002:

    I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.

    From Trump today:

    Well, I knew him [Epstein] like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people in Palm Beach knew him; he was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan. I was not — yeah, a long time ago. I’d say, maybe 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you. I was not a fan of his.

    Maybe Trump won’t grant Epstein a pardon after all?

  165. says

    Rachel Maddow’s succinct comment about Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s role in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal:

    So, a federal judge just ruled that the current Labor Secretary gave a secret non-prosecution agreement to a prolific, serial child sex offender — then broke the law by agreeing with the guy’s defense team that they’d all keep it secret from the victims.

  166. says

    TPM – “Feds Have Major Falling Out With Flynn And His New Legal Team”:

    The cooperation relationship between former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and prosecutors appears to be under serious strain, according to new court filings unsealed Tuesday in the foreign lobbying case against his ex-business associate.

    The court documents revealed that the prosecutors no longer intend to put Flynn on the stand for the trial and that they were now seeking to designate Flynn as a co-conspirator.

    The move prompted an indignant objection from Flynn’s new team of lawyers, who called into question the government’s tactics while insisting that he was continuing to cooperate.

    The dispute will fuel speculation that Flynn shook up his legal team to take a more hostile posture towards the Justice Department, as part of a play for a pardon from President Trump.

    Flynn replaced his lawyers on June 12. The current dispute with prosecutors appears to have begun to bubble up just a week or two later.

    Flynn was supposed to be sentenced in December in his separate case. However, his previous lawyers filed a sentencing memo casting doubt on his guilty plea that enraged the D.C. federal judge overseeing his case. Upon the suggestion of that judge, Flynn sought to push back the sentencing until he was done cooperating in the Kian case so that the judge could consider the full extent of his cooperation when he considered his sentence….

    More at the link.

  167. says

    Trump can’t block Twitter users who disagree with him.

    […] “The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote in the unanimous decision.

    The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University represented seven users who had been blocked by Trump for posting disapproving comments about the president in 2017. Trump unblocked those users while the case was pending appeal, according to the Washington Post.

    The decision comes less than two weeks after Twitter announced that it would notify users when public officials’ tweets violated the company’s rules about abusive behavior—a measure that could potentially apply to Trump’s tweets. The president’s inability to block users marks a victory for online free speech advocates amid a conversation about the responsibility of public officials—and social media platforms—to moderate behavior online. […]

    Link

  168. says

    “Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam Says Extradition Bill Is ‘Dead,’ But Protesters Press On”:

    Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the extradition bill that prompted weeks of street demonstrations is “dead,” admitting that the government’s handling of it was a “total failure.”

    The measure would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trials in courts controlled by the Communist Party, sparking fears of politically motivated prosecutions targeting outspoken critics of China.

    The backlash to the bill has prompted the most serious challenge to the Beijing-controlled government of Hong Kong since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.

    In mid-June, Lam responded to huge protests by suspending the bill, but that move failed to mollify critics, who continued to demonstrate against the bill and call for Lam’s resignation.

    In the face of Lam’s declaration, Hong Kong protest leaders are not satisfied, saying the bill should be formally withdrawn.

    Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong tweeted that Lam telling the country the bill is dead is a “ridiculous lie,” since she did not invoke federal powers necessary to really kill the bill. Plus, Wong said, the Hong Kong leader has not committed to not reintroducing the bill at a later date, which protesters are demanding.

    Activists like Wong are also pressing Lam for an independent investigation into some of the forceful tactics Hong Kong police used against demonstrators, which by some estimates reached about 2 million people at the height of the protests. Riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse crowds blocking roads.

    But on Tuesday, Lam said those who object to the extradition bill have nothing to fear.

    She said she realizes there are “lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries about whether it would restart the process in the legislative council,” but she emphasized: “There is no such plan. The bill is dead.”…

    Not sure what she’s trying to do here. If it’s really dead, then formally withdraw it and state publicly that it’s not coming back.

  169. says

    This does not sound like a good move by Michael Flynn:

    […] Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn will not be called by the government to testify at the upcoming trial of his former business partner Bijan Kian and is being listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case, according to a court order issued Tuesday. […]

    A separate court filing made by Kian’s attorneys that was unsealed Tuesday indicates that the government is no longer entirely confident in Flynn as a witness.

    […] according to Flynn’s new lawyers, he did not provide his attorneys with false information, did not read the FARA filing before he signed it, and didn’t know it contained false information.

    Flynn was never charged in connection with the Turkish lobbying campaign, but admitted to making false statements in FARA filings as part of a deal to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. […]

    “At trial, the government will ask the court to find, based upon a preponderance of the evidence presented at trial, that Flynn was a co-conspirator in the conspiracy charged in the superseding indictment,” federal prosecutors wrote in one filing. […]

    “General Flynn followed the law and hired the FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] experts. The government is seeking to admit one document as ‘coconspirator hearsay’ even though it is otherwise admissible,” Powell [Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney] said. “Judge Trenga hasn’t ruled on anything yet but unsealing. General Flynn is still cooperating with the government even if they don’t call him as a witness.”

    Flynn filed a 113-page memo opposing the co-conspirator designation on Monday. […]

    In the memo, Flynn’s attorneys argued that listing him as a co-conspirator “sounds an alarm of possible retaliation and may have ramifications for Mr. Flynn beyond this trial.” […]

    Kian was charged alongside Turkish national Kamil Ekim Alptekin last December with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey in connection with the now-defunct Flynn Intel Group’s lobbying campaign against Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. […]

    The new developments could increase the likelihood that Flynn receives prison time for his offense. […]

    Link

  170. says

    From Hillary Clinton:

    When the Trump administration threatened to pull out of the Iran deal and impose more sanctions last year, it was clear that we’d lose our leverage and Iran would be free to do what it wanted. Predictably, Iran is now exceeding enrichment limits the deal once imposed.

    As I said after the Iran deal was reached, it was not perfect but it achieved its fundamental mission of blocking every pathway for Iran to get a bomb. So far, the administration has consciously chosen a dangerous path leading to a riskier future. But diplomacy is still the only way for the administration to climb out of the hole they’ve dug.

  171. says

    I agree with Josh Marshall here. Not only in books and articles but in congressional and FBI interviews, evidence about people in the FBI aggressively working against Clinton has come forth. I believe Lisa Page even named two individuals in her congressional testimony. It looks like Horowitz avoided the subject and tried to steer away questions about it. His take on Strzok and his handling of the Weiner laptop vs. a counterintelligence emergency was similarly problematic.

  172. says

    “Most UK news coverage of Muslims is negative, major study finds”:

    Most coverage of Muslims in British news outlets has a negative slant, according to a major analysis by the Muslim Council of Britain, which concludes that news stories in the mainstream media are contributing to Islamophobia.

    The study found the Mail on Sunday had the most negative coverage of Islam, with 78% of its stories featuring Muslims having negative themes – above an already-high industry average of 59%.

    The New Statesman, Observer and Guardian were the least likely to portray Muslims in a negative light, according to the analysis of 11,000 articles and news broadcasts during the final three months of last year.

    The findings come amid growing scrutiny of Islamophobia in the Conservative party and whether its roots lie in rightwing media coverage. A YouGov poll of Tory members by the campaign group Hope Not Hate found that 60% believe “Islam is generally a threat to western civilisation” and more than half believe “Islam is generally a threat to the British way of life”.

    British television stations, which are regulated for balance by the broadcasting code, were substantially less likely than newspapers to portray Muslims in a negative light, with local television broadcasts particularly likely to feature more positive stories about Islam.

    [Miqdaad] Versi helped to launch the Muslim Council of Britain’s new dedicated centre for media monitoring after his success in campaigning for better representation of Muslims in the British media. He has repeatedly won substantial corrections from newspapers over their reporting of Islam.

    He said a tendency by news outlets to over-generalise – such as using a picture of a woman wearing a niqab to illustrate stories on Muslims – had a real-world impact. He said he hoped to use the findings to highlight the issue to newspaper editors who might not be aware of how their coverage was perceived by Muslims.

    “The way that the media reports on Islam and Muslims plays a role in Islamophobia,” he said. “This is not about censorship, this is about transparency.”…

    “Although the methodology has been vetted by external academics, the organisation admits that the classification of exactly what counts as an anti-Muslim story will ultimately be a subjective decision” is a stupid sentence that misunderstands how social-scientific research works.

  173. says

    Spotted entering the Justice Department: Connecticut US Attorney John Durham, who’s assisting Attorney General Bill Barr with what Barr calls a ‘spying’ review of intel before the 2016 election.”

    Whatever the content, Barr might be trying to time releases to distract from the Mueller testimony.

    (Incidentally, Felix Sater’s testimony apparently went ahead today. We might get some decent leaks about it later.)

  174. says

    NEW: Judge Sullivan orders up explanations this week from the government and Michael Flynn as to why the former Trump national security adviser isn’t going to be testifying in the trial against his former business partner.”

  175. says

    BREAKING: Judge Furman DENIED motion for some @TheJusticeDept counsel to withdraw from the #2020Census case.

    The DOJ’s motion to withdraw certain attorneys is ‘patently insufficient’, Furman said in a scorching 3-page ruling.

    Only two attorneys who left DOJ’s civil division, Brett Shumate and Alice LeCour, will be allowed to withdraw. Several others must stay.

    Just as I noted last week, Furman pointed out in a footnote that SDNY counsel withdrew (successfully) earlier, and so this is the second DOJ withdrawal attempt.

    The ‘Furmanator’ strikes again.”

  176. tomh says

    The Trump-McConnell judge rodeo continues. Number 124, Trump nominated, McConnell approved, federal judge was confirmed today, with 57 appointees waiting in the wings.

    WaPo:
    Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee to California-based 9th Circuit

    The Senate on Tuesday confirmed another of President Trump’s nominees to the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, increasing the number of Republican-appointed judges on what is widely considered the country’s most liberal appellate court.

    Daniel Bress received party-line support in the 53-to-45 vote.

    Bress won confirmation over the objections of California’s two Democratic senators. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Kamala D. Harris questioned Bress’s ties to the state because he has worked most of his law career in Washington.

    “This is something we have never experienced before and that is bringing a judge from one coast to put him in the 9th Circuit on the other coast,” Feinstein said in a floor speech against Bress.

    More at the link.

  177. says

    An absolutely stunning racist attack on @IlhanMN from Tucker. I’m shocked

    She is ‘living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country’

    She ‘is a living fire alarm. A warning to the rest of us that we better change our immigration. Or else’

    I watch this guy every night (well, not as much as @peltzmadeline) and I’m seriously in complete shock at this monologue. It is probably the most racist shit this guy has said on his show and he’s said a lot of racist shit

    People asked why @MMFA published the old Bubba tapes. This is why. So when he attacks Omar and immigration we can look back and say that he called Iraqis ‘semiliterate primitive monkeys’ and that they don’t ‘behave like human beings’

    He’s a racist piece of shit. It’s who he is”

    Tucker Carlson clip at the link.

  178. says

    BBC – “Sir Kim Darroch resigns as UK ambassador to US”:

    Sir Kim Darroch has resigned as UK ambassador to the US, amid a row over leaked emails critical of President Trump’s administration.

    The ambassador was branded “a very stupid guy” by the US president, after emails emerged calling his administration “clumsy and inept”.

    The Foreign Office praised Sir Kim’s “professionalism and class”.

    The ambassador said he wanted to put an end to speculation, adding the leak had made it “impossible” to do his job.

    In response to the letter Sir Simon McDonald, permanent under secretary and head of the diplomatic service, said Sir Kim had served a “long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class”.

    Describing the leak as “malicious” Sir Simon added: “You are the best of us.”

    Theresa May said it was a “matter of great regret” that Sir Kim felt the need to resign, saying officials needed to be able to give “full and frank advice”.

    “Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude,” she added.

    The prime minister said he had had the full support of the Cabinet during the row.

    In a debate for the Tory leadership contest on ITV on Tuesday, frontrunner Boris Johnson repeatedly refused to say whether he would keep Sir Kim in post if he became prime minister.

    But Mr Johnson said he regretted news of Sir Kim’s resignation because “he is a superb diplomat and I worked with him for many years”.

    Fellow candidate and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he “profoundly” regretted the “outrageous” leak that led to Sir Kim’s departure. “It should never have come to this”, he added.

    Europe Minister Sir Alan Duncan has accused Mr Johnson of throwing Sir Kim “under a bus”.

    “I think for someone who wants to lead let alone unite this country, that was contemptible negligence on his part and he’s basically thrown this fantastic diplomat under a bus to serve his own personal interests,” he told the BBC.

    “I’m upset and angry,” Sir Alan added.

    BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Mr Johnson’s lack of support for Sir Kim was “the first major act” of Mr Johnson’s hypothetical leadership.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Commons: “The comments made about him are beyond unfair and wrong. I think he has given honourable and good service and he should be thanked for it.”

    Sir Kim had been due to step down at the end of the year.

    He thanked those who had offered their support, both in the UK and the US during a “difficult few days”, adding that it had “brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries”….

    David Lammy: “Hounded out of office for telling the truth. This is a disgraceful example of what ‘taking back control’ truly looks like: pandering to bigoted foreign leaders and letting them dictate the fate of UK ambassadors.”

  179. says

    From the Guardian – “Kim Darroch quits as UK ambassador to US ‘after Johnson remarks'”:

    Sir Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to Washington who has been at the centre of a diplomatic row over leaked cables criticising Donald Trump, has resigned, the Foreign Office has said.

    The Guardian understands that he concluded that his position was untenable after watching Tuesday’s Conservative leadership debate, in which the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, stopped short of backing him.

    Darroch’s decision will put pressure on Johnson, who was criticised by some Conservatives after Tuesday night’s debate for refusing to give Darroch his support, even as his rival, Jeremy Hunt, said that he would expect the ambassador to stay in post until his planned retirement.

    When pressed on the point Johnson gave only mild criticism of Trump said that a good relationship with the US was “of fantastic importance” and declined to give assurances that Darroch would keep his job….

  180. says

    Yahoo – “Exclusive: The true origins of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. A Yahoo News investigation.”

    The report and episodes 1 and 2 of the new Michael Isikoff podcast series “Conspiracyland” at the link. It’s difficult to say which of the participants (excluding the Kremlin) is most despicable. Reading the article, I’d thought it was Bannon, but listening to episode 2 of the podcast, I leaned toward Assange.

    From All In last night: “Behind The DNC Staffer Murder Conspiracy Theory: The malicious lie about a murdered DNC staffer, promoted by right-wing media, exposed.” (7-minute video at the link.)

  181. says

    BuzzFeed – “Revealed: The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The ‘European Trump'”:

    Six men sat down for a business meeting on the morning of October 18 last year, amid the hubbub and marble-columned opulence of Moscow’s iconic Metropol Hotel, to discuss plans for a “great alliance.”

    A century earlier, the grand institution was the scene of events that helped change the face of Europe and the world: Czarist forces fought from inside the hotel as they tried and failed to hold the Bolsheviks back from the Kremlin in 1917, and it was here, in suite 217, that the first Soviet Constitution was drafted after the revolution succeeded.

    The six men — three Russians, three Italians — gathered beneath the spectacular painted glass ceiling in the hotel lobby last October had their eyes on history too. Their nominal purpose was an oil deal; their real goal was to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.

    BuzzFeed News has obtained an explosive audio recording of the Metropol meeting in which a close aide of Europe’s most powerful far-right leader — Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — and the other five men can be heard negotiating the terms of a deal to covertly channel tens of millions of dollars of Russian oil money to Salvini’s Lega party.

    The recording reveals the elaborate lengths the two sides were willing to go to conceal the fact that the true beneficiary of the deal would be Salvini’s party — a breach of Italian electoral law, which bans political parties from accepting large foreign donations — despite the comfort with which he and Europe’s other far-right leaders publicly parade their pro-Kremlin political sympathies.

    “We want to change Europe,” said longtime Salvini aide Gianluca Savoini — who dined alongside Vladimir Putin at a government banquet to celebrate the Russian president’s visit to Rome last week. “A new Europe has to be close to Russia as before because we want to have our sovereignty,” he continued over the clinking of coffee cups and buzz of conversation around the lobby.

    As well as releasing excerpts of the Metropol tape — the existence of which is being revealed for the first time today — BuzzFeed News is also publishing a transcript of the entire recording.

    Salvini — described enthusiastically by the Russians on the tape as the “European Trump” — did not attend the meeting himself, but he was in Moscow at the time. The previous day he gave a speech in which he denounced sanctions against Russia as “economic, social, and cultural folly” before reportedly meeting with the Russian deputy prime minister, Dmitry Kozak, and a powerful member of Putin’s United Russia party named Vladimir Pligin.

    Although BuzzFeed News has been unable to identify the Russians at the Metropol meeting, the tape contains clear indications that high-level government figures in Moscow were aware of the negotiations — including those with whom Salvini had reportedly met the previous evening. The Russian negotiators can be heard referring to “yesterday’s meeting” without specifying the attendees, saying twice that they would have to feed details back to the “deputy prime minister,” and explaining they were hoping to get the “green light” from “Mr. Pligin” the following week.

    But the Metropol tape provides the first hard evidence of Russia’s clandestine attempts to fund Europe’s nationalist movements, and the apparent complicity of some senior figures from the far right in those attempts.

    While it’s unclear whether the agreement negotiated at the Metropol hotel was ever executed, or if Lega received any funding, the existence of the recording of a detailed negotiation raises serious questions about whether Italian laws were broken, the links between Moscow and Salvini’s Lega party, and the integrity of May’s European elections.

    European politics has been shadowed for years by the suggestion that Russian commercial transactions with far-right leaders had a hidden political purpose.

    The Metropol meeting bears all the hallmarks of a real negotiation rather than a sting. And while questions remain unanswered about Russia’s previous financial maneuvers with nationalist figures, the recording offers X-ray clarity on the Kremlin’s relationship with the powerful Italian Lega party, and a clear model for how exactly Russia uses commerce to mask naked exchanges of money and power.

    By the time the bill arrived, the six men were in a buoyant mood. They can be heard joking over who should pay for the coffees. “This is not Rome,” one of the Russians said.

    Savoini’s response was telling. Turning to one of his favorite slogans — based on a 16th-century doctrine that held the Russian Empire to be the successor to ancient Rome and Constantinople as the ultimate center of true Christianity — he replied: “Moscow is the third Rome.”

    Much, much more at the link. A “nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow” is a silly concept, as the final paragraph suggests.

  182. says

    JUST IN: Prosecutors say they will ‘reassess’ their position on Flynn’s sentencing at the close of his former business partner’s pending trial. Though he’s not testifying for them anymore, he might testify for the defense, they say.”

  183. says

    Exclusive: @DeutscheBank had an extensive relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, lending him money and providing trading services — up until May 2019, when the bank cut him off.

    This is one nugget in a big story on Epstein and the mirage of his wealth. He doesn’t appear to have been a billionaire.

    The Epstein relationship was managed by Deutsche’s private bank — the same division that lent to @realDonaldTrump. Deutsche compliance officers raised concerns about transactions Epstein’s company was doing, three sources told me. Bank managers overruled employees.

    The Deutsche-Epstein relationship continued into 2019, many years after Epstein was identified as a sex offender. In recent months, with Epstein back in the public spotlight, Deutsche essentially fired him as a client. His accounts were shut down around May.”

    Link to the full NYT story – “Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Infinite Means’ May Be a Mirage” – at the link.

  184. says

    “Trump’s Fourth of July celebration helped bankrupt DC security fund”:

    Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” Fourth of July event in Washington and subsequent protests cost the District of Columbia’s security fund $1.7m, a sum that has contributed to the bankruptcy of the fund, according to the mayor of Washington DC.

    In a letter to the president released on Tuesday, the Democratic mayor Muriel Bowser said the fund is estimated to be running a $6m deficit for the fiscal year, attributing the deficit to declining reserves, increased demand for heightened security and $7.3m in costs related to Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

    Bowser requested that the White House fully reimburse the fund. “We ask for your help with ensuring the residents of the District of Columbia are not asked to cover millions of dollars of federal expenses and are able to maintain our high standards of protection for federal events,” she wrote.

    ABC news reported on Wednesday that the Fourth of July event cost the National Park Service $2.45m….

  185. says

    From Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes last night (videos at the links):

    Nude dancer auction at Trump golf club almost actually happened: Rachel Maddow reports on a strip club’s nude dancer auction planned for a Donald Trump golf course, advertised with Trump’s family crest, that was canceled at the last minute in the glare of a Washington Post report.”

    Acosta Makes Himself Look Worse With Defense Of Epstein Deal: Rachel Maddow shows why Labor Secretary Alex Acosta actually made himself look worse with his press conference defending the deal he made with Jeffrey Epstein. Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney, joins for analysis of why the bulk of Acosta’s argument did not make sense.”

    The Consequence Of Elite Impunity: Chris Hayes looks at how impunity in this country for the rich and powerful helps create a culture of more wrongdoing.”

  186. says

    Guardian – “New generation of political exiles leave Bolsonaro’s Brazil ‘to stay alive'”:

    At times, the solitude and separation from family and friends have plunged Jean Wyllys into despair. “I’ve been through moments of deep sadness, I’ve spent the whole night crying,” he said, speaking by phone from his new home in Berlin. “So I avoid thinking about it too much. I’ve kept very busy, I’ve written a lot.”

    A writer and university professor, Wyllys won Brazil’s version of Big Brother before becoming one of the country’s best-known leftwing politicians, and the only openly gay lawmaker in congress.

    But in January he resigned his seat and fled the country. “I left Brazil to stay alive,” said Wyllys.

    The military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985 exiled leftist politicians, dissidents, artists and academics. Decades later, prominent Brazilian leftists and activists are again leaving the country, but this time they are fleeing death threats from rightwing extremists and supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro.

    Other prominent exiles include the academic Marcia Tiburi, a former gubernatorial candidate for Rio de Janeiro state, the feminist campaigner Debora Diniz and writer and favela activist Anderson França.

    “I didn’t want to come. It was an escape,” said França, who relocated to Portugal. “People like me are not safe in Brazil today.”

    The four exiles all describe a cocktail of threats from paramilitary gangs, rightwing extremists and a nihilistic dark-web forum whose users spew hate for leftists, women and black people.

    At times those threats coincided with abuse or defamatory lies shared online by high-profile followers of Brazil’s far-right president.

    França, Wyllys and Diniz all said they received death threats from users of an extreme racist and misogynist site that called itself “the biggest alt-right forum in Brazil”. (On federal police advice, the Guardian is not naming it nor its members.)

    The site’s anonymous users discuss paedophilia, raping and killing women, “corrective rape” of lesbians, suicide tips and even plans to shoot up schools and universities to target Marxists and leftists. Over the years, the forum changed its name and moved to the dark web where it cannot be accessed using a normal browser; it recently suspended activities.

    One of its early targets was Dolores Aronovich, a professor of English at the Federal University of Ceará in north-east Brazil. “They think the world’s true victim is the white, hetero male … that women control the world through the power of sex,” said Aronovich.

    In 2011, some of its users expressed support for a gunman who killed 12 students – 10 of whom were girls – at his former Rio high school before shooting himself, said Flúvio Cardinelle, a federal police officer.

    Cardinelle led a 2012 investigation that resulted in convictions for racism and sharing images of child abuse for two of the forum’s principal members, but they spent just a year in prison.

    In December one of those men was handed a 41-year prison sentence for crimes including racism, inciting crimes, terrorism and sharing paedophile content. He has been filmed wearing a Bolsonaro T-shirt and giving neo-Nazi salutes. The second man remains abroad.

    In March the Ponte human rights site reported that two former students who carried out a school massacre near São Paulo the previous month had sought advice from the forum’s users – some of whom later celebrated the slaughter.

    Two officers from the cybercrime unit of Brazil’s federal police said they lacked resources to systematically fight virtual hate crime. There is a “general lack of efficiency in investigations because there is no dedicated structure”, said one. “The result affects us all.”

    Leftists are not the only victims of such threats, they added. Congresswoman Carla Zambelli from Bolsonaro’s PSL party is one of several politicians under police protection after she and her family received threats from the same forum.

    Zambelli said she believed the threats were motivated by misogyny rather than politics. “Our legislation over threats is very weak,” Zambelli said….

    More at the link.

  187. says

    To ignore, or not to ignore Trump’s tweets.

    Steve Benen makes some cogent points:

    After seeing Donald Trump’s tweets this morning, I initially just rolled my eyes and moved on. But there was something about today’s missives that lingered in my mind, largely because they reinforced concerns that the sitting American president is unwell.

    …The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media. They have lost tremendous credibility since that day in November, 2016, that I came down the escalator with the person who was to become your future First Lady.

    When I ultimately leave office in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding), they will quickly go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval, from the public. That’s why they will all be Endorsing me at some point, one way or the other.

    Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or @AlfredENeuman99 or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas (1000/24th), as your President, rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true Stable Genius! […]

    […] grounded, well-balanced adults tend not to make ridiculous declarations like these.

    And yet, this is our life now. The man running around boasting about his appearance and suspect intellect has access to the nuclear codes. Bizarre rants that should never feel normal have effectively become the background noise of modern American politics.

    Donald Trump has told a great many lies to the public, but among the most dramatic was his 2016 assurance, “I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.”

    I’m skeptical of the utility of fact-checking a nonsensical rant, but as long as we’re on the subject, it’s probably worth noting a few things:

    * Trump “came down the escalator” in June 2015, not November 2016, and it’s weird that the president doesn’t remember the details of his own recent political history.

    * He sure does “joke” a lot about serving more than two terms.

    * Trump has gone after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) before, but I believe today was the first time he complained that the senator doesn’t weigh enough. […]

    Link

    From Dana Milbank, who wrote this during the first week of Trump’s term:

    His disconnect from reality is my biggest fear about Trump, more than any one policy he has proposed. My worry is the president of the United States is barking mad.

    I will add this to Benen’s fact-checking: Elizabeth Warren is 24/1000 Native American. She is not what Trump wrote: “1000/24th.”

  188. says

    ICE will start raids targeting ‘thousands’ of undocumented people in the U.S. on Sunday, govt. officials told @nytimes. The raids will also involve detaining ‘collateral’ people who don’t have deportation orders, like family members.”

    People’s worst fears about Trump being realized. One of the cities on the list of targets is New Orleans, which might be hit by a hurricane and historic flooding this weekend (for more, follow Eric Holthaus and his recommended list).

    From Holthaus yesterday:

    “NHC UPDATE, 10pm: Soon-to-be #Barry continues to move toward a landfall in Louisiana on Saturday as a category 1 hurricane.

    Biggest risks (by far) are the 10-20 inches of rainfall and storm surge moving up the Mississippi River that may overtop levees in New Orleans.”

    “If the Mississippi River breaches the levee system designed to hold it on its present course, it would cripple America’s agricultural and petrochemical industries, deal a potentially fatal blow to New Orleans, and change the course of American history.”

  189. says

    Interesting polling results about Middle East wars:

    […]Among veterans, 64% say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States, while 33% say it was. The general public’s views are nearly identical: 62% of Americans overall say the Iraq War wasn’t worth it and 32% say it was. Similarly, majorities of both veterans (58%) and the public (59%) say the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting. About four-in-ten or fewer say it was worth fighting. […]

    Pew Research Center link

    Commentary:

    […] Trump sat down with Fox News (again), for an interview that aired last week, and was asked about whether he intends to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

    “Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve wanted to pull them out,” the president replied. “And you know, I have pulled a lot out. We were at 16,000. We’re down to about 9,000, which a lot of people don’t know.”

    Of course, a lot of people don’t know that because it’s not altogether true. [see link below for fact-checking]

    Trump added, “We shouldn’t be there. We shouldn’t be there. We’re the policeman for the whole world.” Tucker Carlson asked, “Could you see getting out entirely?” The president’s answered meandered a bit before eventually concluding:

    “I’ll give you a tough one. If you were in my position and a great-looking, central-casting – and we have great generals – a great central-casting general walks up to your office, I say, ‘We’re getting out.’ ‘Yes, sir. We’ll get out. Yes, sir.’

    I’ll say, ‘What do you think of that?’ ‘Sir, I’d rather attack them over there than attack them in our land.’ In other words, them coming here. That’s always a very tough decision, you know, with what happened with the World Trade Center, et cetera et cetera.

    “When they say that, you know, no matter how you feel, and you and I feel pretty much very similar. But when you’re standing there, and you have some really talented military people saying, ‘I’d rather attack them over there than have them hit us over here and fight them on our land.’ It’s something you always have to think about.”

    So, if Trump spoke to military leaders who weren’t “great-looking, central-casting” generals, maybe he wouldn’t think this is “a tough one”? […]

    Link for Commentary text above.

    Fact-checking Trump’s false claims about Afghanistan on Fox

  190. says

    Vice – “People Tell Us How QAnon Destroyed Their Relationships”:

    One of the most disheartening signs of our advancing hellworld are the thousands of people who wholeheartedly believe in the deranged conspiracy known as QAnon.

    It’s near impossible to summarize the entire QAnon conspiracy theory, as it’s fluid and ever-changing. The nuts and bolts are that a secret government insider, the titular Q, has taken to the internet forum 8chan of all places to drop clues (known in the community as Q Drops breadcrumbs) about how U.S. President Donald Trump is taking down the deep state. The conspiracy takes some twists and turns into the occult, an ever-present cabal of pedophiles, possible executions, and the idea JFK Jr. may have faked his own death and is cosplaying as an old guy who goes to Trump rallies.

    While the QAnon conspiracy often feels like an elaborate troll, an online community of real, actual people has built up around it. There’s been a lot written about how lonely these people are, how they will cut themselves off from their family (and eat sad sandwiches during holidays), and poking fun at the whole thing. Rick Ross, a cult deprogrammer and executive director of the nonprofit Cult Education Institute, says the community bears a lot of the hallmarks of a cult: the main character is infallible and everything is part of a greater plan.

    And because it’s unfolding online, “it becomes hard to [penetrate],” Ross said. “[Followers] spend all their watching time Q material on YouTube, dialoguing with different people online, and becoming consumed by that world online.”

    No one knows how hard it is to break through a bubble one creates around themselves than loved ones. While maybe it’s funny for those outside peering in, what is it like for those who are close to them, the people who experience their loved one’s brain being rotted by YouTubers breaking down 8chan posts in real time?

    I decided to seek them out. I found a woman whose husband became so obsessed with YouTube conspiracy videos he would follow her around the house and force her to watch them, someone who avoids their mother because of Q, and someone who was dumped by the man she loved because she actively attempted to debunk QAnon. Here are their stories….

  191. says

    Obamacare: the latest attack from team Trump may actually work to kill Obamacare.

    […] Despite the partisan hyperventilating, Donald Trump and his GOP brethren will not “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act ahead of the 2020 elections.

    Republicans do, however, have an alternate route in mind: the Texas v. U.S. lawsuit is ongoing, and its purpose is to destroy “Obamacare” altogether, eliminating all of its benefits for the American public.

    […] a far-right judge in Texas ruled in the GOP’s favor in December, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals appears likely to do the same. If the Republicans’ gambit succeeds, 21 million people would lose their health coverage; 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would lose their protections; and the entire American health care system would be uprooted.

    It led Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to publish a striking tweet yesterday with a question for his GOP colleagues: “Hey Senate Republicans, oral arguments yesterday in your Obamacare case suggest you may get your way…. So…like…what’s your plan then?”

    […] Republican officials haven’t the foggiest idea how to answer that question. […]

    Link

    Republicans are depending on the courts to reject the Republican assault on healthcare:

    “I actually don’t think the courts are eventually ever going to strike it down,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday. He called the case, which was argued before an appeals court in New Orleans on Tuesday, “pretty far-fetched.”

    “It’s my hope and belief that the Supreme Court won’t strike the law down,” Sen. Susan Collins said.

  192. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 300

    Of course, the Republicans don’t have a plan to replace the ACA! They didn’t think there was anything wrong with the American health care system to begin with.

    To them, people not being able to afford a vitally-needed commodity is a feature of capitalism, not a bug.

  193. says

    EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump is expected to announce he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and will instead instruct the Commerce Department to get the data through other means, sources tell @ABC News.”

  194. says

    BREAKING: Trump has backed down on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, and is instead ordering agencies to provide data to the Commerce Dept — a plan the Census Bureau recommended and Wilbur Ross rejected in favor of the citizenship Q.”

  195. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Daniel Dale is a true Canadian hero. I don’t know how he hasn’t gone mad yet.

  196. says

    Josh Marshall: “Half the GOP policy agenda now turns on creating structural reforms (largely enforced by activist rightwing judges) to allow a shrinking GOP electorate to hold power while failing to win majority votes – voter ID, vote purges, partisan gerrymandering, citizen only districts, etc.”

  197. says

    Corruption all the way down:

    A congressional committee is investigating whether the U.S. Interior Department helped an Arizona developer and supporter of President Donald Trump get a crucial permit after a wildlife official said the housing project would threaten habitat for imperiled species.

    U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, is leading an investigation into the proposed 28,000-home development in a small town in southern Arizona.

    “It’s not clear to me why top Interior officials would weigh in on a local land development unless someone was being done a huge favor,” Grijalva said in a statement Wednesday. […]

    Steve Spangle, a retired Fish and Wildlife Service field supervisor, told the Arizona Daily Star in April that he had similar concerns in 2016 but was pressured a year later to facilitate the permit anyway.

    He has since told several media outlets that he “got rolled” by politics.

    “I used that phrase to distinguish it from making a policy call based on fact, as opposed to making a policy call based on politics,” Spangle told the newspaper.

    He says an attorney with the Interior Department’s solicitor’s office warned him that a “high-level politico” thought he should change his assessment in favor of the development. […]

    https://apnews.com/154d5d05988349aa9666955eaf3225ea

  198. says

    NEW: House Intelligence Committee met today with David Archey, a senior FBI official on Mueller’s team, behind closed doors, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The committee is reviewing counterintelligence gleaned from Mueller probe.”

  199. says

    From Tierney Sneed, writing for Talking Points Memo:

    The citizenship question will not be on the 2020 census, […] Trump said Thursday, in Rose Garden remarks where he appeared downcast and aggrieved.

    But in the same remarks he and Attorney General Bill Barr made clear that they were doubling down on a central goal of putting the question on the census: to erase immigrant communities from the count to determine political power in the United States. […]

    Trump is ordering the Commerce Department to collect citizenship data from other government agencies, and his administration intends to use that data to try to reshape the structure of American democracy in away that will boost Republicans to the detriment of Democratic-leaning immigrant communities.

    Trump said specifically that the data will be useful for states that want to draw legislative districts based on a citizen-based metric, rather than total population […]

    That means in red states like Texas, where the immigration population is growing, Republican lawmakers will be able to decrease the number of representatives those communities — many of them urban and Democratic-leaning — get, while increasing seats given to the white and more rural parts of the states. […]

    Attorney General Bill Barr went even farther. After Trump said that the data the Commerce Department would produce would include the number of “illegal aliens” in the United States (something the proposed citizenship question would not have asked), Barr said data on undocumented immigrants could be useful for the purpose of deciding how many U.S. congressional seats each state gets, in the process known as apportionment.

    Currently, like redistricting, apportionment is done using total population. In fact the Constitution mandates that apportionment be done based on all people.

    However, Barr described there being a “dispute” over counting undocumented immigrants in apportionment, and said the data the administration is now collecting could be useful once that so-called dispute is resolved. […]

    The stakes went beyond just the electoral consequence of getting citizenship data to use for redistricting. The question stood to discourage immigrant communities from participating on the survey altogether, skewing not just political representation but also federal resources from those populations. […]

  200. says

    “Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro to appoint son as ambassador to US”:

    The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has invited his son Eduardo to become ambassador to the United States, underscoring his family’s influential role in the country’s diplomacy and domestic politics.

    Eduardo Bolsonaro, currently a federal congressman, told reporters he would accept the role if nominated. His father said earlier that the appointment would hinge on his son’s acceptance.

    The far-right Brazilian president, who said his campaign of 2018 was inspired by Donald Trump, has made friendly overtures to the American leader and made similar use of family members as official advisers.

    Bolsonaro’s eldest son, Flavio, is advancing his conservative social agenda as a senator.

    Carlos Bolsonaro, another son of the president and a Rio de Janeiro city councillor, has taken a role in his father’s social media communications and stirred controversy by attacking members of the Brazilian cabinet.

    Eduardo, the third of the president’s four sons and a daughter from three marriages, has counselled his father on foreign affairs.

    After his father’s election in October, Eduardo was one of his first envoys to Washington where he met Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and was spotted wearing a “Trump 2020” cap.

    The former Trump adviser Steve Bannon named the younger Bolsonaro the Latin American leader of his rightwing nationalist organisation, The Movement.

    During the Brazilian leader’s White House visit in March, Trump heaped praise on Eduardo, who sat by his father during an Oval Office chat while Brazil’s foreign minister and ambassador in Washington were nowhere to be seen.

    So much populism.

  201. says

    Fantastic discussion between Kara Swisher and Carole Cadwalladr:

    “Journalist Carole Cadwalladr on Facebook, Brexit, and ‘techno-fascism'”

    Carole Cadwalladr, a reporter for the Guardian and Observer, talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about her investigations into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the links between tech and political disinformation campaigns.

    In this episode: Cadwalladr’s background; tech’s impact on democracy; the “cancer” of the far-right internet; Google’s lack of accountability; Cambridge Analytica and its co-founder Robert Mercer; talking to whistleblower Christopher Wylie; the links among Brexit, Donald Trump, and Russia; the danger of challenging an ideological billionaire like Mercer; how Facebook shot itself in the foot; at Facebook, “who knew what, when?”; Cadwalladr’s viral TED Talk about social media and disinformation; “techno-fascism” and you; why the US press must push Facebook harder; what Cadwalladr would do if she were in charge; and is she still optimistic about tech?

  202. says

    TPM – “LIVE BLOG: Appeals Court Arguments On House Subpoena For Trump Finances”:

    Oral arguments in the appeals case where President Trump will be arguing to block a congressional subpoena for his financial records begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.

    Trump took the unprecedented step of hiring personal attorneys to sue to block his longtime accounting firm – Mazars USA LLP – from complying with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee for years of his financial records. A D.C. federal judge upheld the subpoena, and the President appealed the decision in a battle that is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

    Conservative movement attorney William Consovoy will be representing Trump. House General Counsel Douglas Letter will be arguing for the Oversight Committee.

    We will be live-blogging the hearing before D.C. Circuit Judges David Tatel, Patricia Millett and Neomi Rao once it commences.

    Arguments are available to watch on the appeals court website.

    This is going on now.

  203. says

    Hold on to your irony meters:

    “Tatel moves the discussion to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)’s public statements that he is considering legislation around financial disclosures for the President.

    ‘The court does not have to be naive’, Consovoy replies. ‘The court does not have to accept that here are some legislative-type arguments, and deny what is staring the court in the face’.”

  204. says

    NEWS … ROBERT MUELLER’S testimony is likely to be delayed, and the two sides are talking about a longer appearance on Capitol Hill.

    Our sources on Capitol Hill tell us Mueller will come up on 7/24. Situation is fluid.”

  205. says

    Intercept – “Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost Was a Member of Secret Facebook Group”:

    When news broke that thousands of current and former Border Patrol agents were members of a secret Facebook group filled with racist, vulgar, and sexist content, Carla Provost, chief of the agency, was quick to respond. “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Provost said in a statement. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

    For Provost, a veteran of the Border Patrol who was named head of the agency in August 2018, the group’s existence and content should have come as no surprise. Three months after her appointment to chief of the patrol, Provost herself had posted in the group, then known as “I’m 10-15,” now archived as “America First X 2.” Provost’s comment was innocuous — a friendly clapback against a group member who questioned her rise to the top of the Border Patrol — but her participation in the group, which she has since left, raises serious questions.

    Provost is one of several Border Patrol supervisors The Intercept has identified as current or former participants in the secret Facebook group, including chief patrol agents overseeing whole Border Patrol sectors; multiple patrol agents in charge of individual stations; and ranking officials in the Border Patrol’s union, who have enjoyed direct access to President Trump. (It is technically possible that someone else posted in the group using the individuals’ accounts.) The group’s existence has already generated at least two investigations from lawmakers and internal Department of Homeland Security oversight bodies.

    Evidence of Provost’s participation in the secret Border Patrol group comes as Rep. Ocasio Cortez, along with Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) head into a hearing with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the inspectors general of DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services Friday to discuss their recent visit to detention centers along the border.

    As both ProPublica and The Intercept have reported, the lawmakers visit was a hot topic among “I’m 10-15” members,…

    The names of three current chief patrol agents appeared in The Intercept’s search of the Border Patrol Facebook group, including Matthew Hudak, of the Big Bend sector, whose last post was in August 10, 2016; Rodney S. Scott, of the San Diego sector, whose last post was November 17, 2018 and remains in the group; and Jason D. Owens, former deputy chief patrol agent for the Laredo, Texas sector, who now oversees operations the Border Patrol’s Houlton sector in Maine. The Intercept additionally identified nine current or former group members whose names match current “Patrol Agents In Charge” — or PAICs — of individual Border Patrol stations.

    The names of Border Patrol union figures also appear in the group, including Hector Garza, who was among the first active duty members of the agency to establish a relationship to then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015, and Tucson chapter union head Art del Cueto, the host of the Breitbart-sponsored Border Patrol union podcast the Green Line and frequent Fox News guest.

    While posts shared by Border Patrol supervisors viewed by The Intercept were generally benign, that was not true in all cases.

    By all indications, group member Thomas Hendricks was something of an edgy memelord in “I’m 10-15,” never cowering before the politically correct demands of so-called “snowflakes.” When Hendricks appeared to disappear from the group last summer, his stature and mystique grew, prompting “who is Tom Hendricks” and “we are all Tom Hendricks” style posts.

    The truth, as ProPublica reported this week and as comments reviewed by The Intercept indicate, is that Hendricks appears to be a supervisor in the Border Patrol Calexico station with more than two decades on the job. He returned to “I’m 10-15” on June 21, posting “That’s right [b*****s]. The masses have spoken and today democracy won. I have returned. To everyone who knows the real me and had my back I say thank you. To everyone else? This is what I have to say…”

    Hendricks then included an image of a smirking Donald Trump forcing Ocasio Cortez’s face into his crotch by the back of her neck.

    The post, which garnered more than 250 likes, was on the ProPublica website less than two weeks later.

  206. says

    “Trump on Acosta: ‘He was a great student at Harvard. He’s Hispanic. Which I so admire. Because maybe it was a little tougher for him. And maybe not’.”

  207. says

    “We’re back on whether Congress’s appropriations power with regard to the Executive branch grants it the ability to enact laws mandating financial disclosures.

    ‘Imagine, in the future, you have the most corrupt president in humankind, openly flaunting it, what law could Congress pass?’ Judge Millett asks.

    Consovoy: ‘I think it’s very hard to think of one’.”

    Perhaps if he imagined the president was a Democrat…

    “Consovoy claims that a memo from the House Oversight Committee outlining the subpoena does not assert contemplated legislation. Judges Tatel and Millett then read from the memo, contradicting him.”

  208. blf says

    For the past year or three, I’ve been periodically excerpting reports (mostly from the Gruaniad) on the bizarre case of Medhanie Berhe, who was being tried in Italy on charges of being a notorious people trafficker, Medhanie Mered, despite a large amount of evidence and testifying Mr Berhe was not Mered. Good news! Eritrean man released from jail in Italian mistaken identity case:

    […]
    A Palermo judge has acquitted an Eritrean man of being a human trafficking kingpin, confirming he was the victim of mistaken identity when he was arrested more than three years ago […].

    The arrest of Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe in 2016 was presented to the press as a brilliant coup by Italian and British authorities, who mistook him for one of the world’s most-wanted human traffickers, Medhanie Yehdego Mered, aka the General.

    On Friday, Judge Alfredo Montalto of the criminal court of Palermo, rejected prosecutors’ claims and ordered the immediate release of Berhe […]

    “It was a case of mistaken identity,” the judge said. “The man in prison was wrongly arrested.”

    Berhe was found guilty on Friday of a much lesser charge of aiding illegal immigration for having helped his cousin to reach Libya, but because he had already served three years in prison, the judge ordered his immediate release.

    […]

    “After three years finally the judge confirmed what we have been saying: we had a farmer in jail and a smuggler at large,” said Michele Calantropo, Berhe’s lawyer.

    Within a few hours of Berhe’s arrest, hundreds of Mered’s victims claimed the wrong man had been detained. According to Berhe’s family, far from being a notorious trafficker he was an Eritrean refugee who earned his living on a dairy farm and working occasionally as a carpenter.

    Among many factors that pointed to his innocence, including two DNA tests and an array of witnesses, was a documentary by the Swedish broadcaster SVT, in collaboration with the Guardian, which revealed that the “real” Mered was living in the Ugandan capital, spending his substantial earnings in Kampala nightclubs while Berhe faced up to 15 years in jail.

    […]

    Despite the fact he had not been able to provide a single witness to testify against him, at the end of his five-hour closing remarks on 17 June the prosecutor Calogero Ferrara dismissed suggestions they had apprehended the wrong man and demanded a 14-year prison term for Berhe.

    But Berhe’s saga, a case that has become one of the most spectacular examples of mistaken identity in the last 30 years, may not be over. Relatives have asked that Berhe be awarded damages for his wrongful detention and that an investigation be opened into Sicily’s top prosecutors who, they argue, are guilty of having bungled a high-profile arrest, covered it up and framed an innocent man for the ruthless and lucrative crimes of another.

    I would also add, speculating, that since the innocent Mr Berhe is in Italy, the current Italian nazi “government” will concoct some excuse to further harass Mr Berhe.

  209. says

    The Mueller hearing is in jeopardy because House Dems are fighting over getting their precious 5 minutes of airtime.
    A modest proposal: Give NONE of the House Dem members questioning time.
    Give all the time to 1 or 2 committee counsel experts.
    That worked wonders in Watergate.”

    I’m annoyed at Mueller’s reluctance to testify. He’s there to serve the country, and this is part of that responsibility.

  210. says

    Axios – “Trump tells confidants he’s eager to remove Dan Coats”:

    President Trump has told confidants he’s eager to remove Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, according to five sources who have discussed the matter directly with the president.

    The state of play: Trump hasn’t told our sources when he plans to make a move, but they say his discussions on the topic have been occurring for months — often unprompted — and the president has mentioned potential replacements since at least February. A source who spoke to Trump about Coats a week ago said the president gave them the impression that the move would happen “sooner rather than later.”

    A source with direct knowledge told me that Trump has privately said he thinks the Office of the Director of National Intelligence represents an unnecessary bureaucratic layer and that he would like to get rid of it. He has been told that eliminating the ODNI is not politically possible, but still would like to “downsize” the office, the source said.

    What’s next: One potential replacement Trump has mentioned to multiple sources is Fred Fleitz, who formerly served as chief of staff to national security adviser John Bolton.

    Fleitz was previously a CIA analyst and a staff member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently the president of the Center for Security Policy.

    It’s Axios, so… (Natasha Bertrand did confirm with representatives of Fleitz, for what that’s worth.)

    The Center for Security Policy is an Islamophobic hate organization. Fleitz was campaigning to “Keep Tommy Free!” recently, in support of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (see #s 239 and 241 above). He wants war with Iran.

  211. says

    ‘Take a look at one other thing. It’s a thing called Article II. Nobody ever mentions Article II. It give me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before. We don’t even talk about Article II’. – The President”

    This is at least the second time Trump’s said something like this in the past few weeks. It’s an illustration of the danger posed by Barr.

  212. blf says

    Evangelical churches gaining ground in France (video): “In France, a new Evangelical church is built every 10 days, thanks to the efforts of highly motivated young believers. Once a fringe religious movement, Evangelism is gaining ground and now counts 700,000 followers across France. […]”

    Generalissimo Google tells me there’s at least two of these gestapo wannabes in the local area, one (not much more than an isolated small barn) that I knew about and has been there for years, and another about a stone’s throw (tempting!) from me, which I’m guessing is fairly new, on a somewhat isolated side-street… and not too far from the le penazi hate centre which recently opened on the local main pedestrianised shopping street.

  213. says

    Fleitz previously said it’s ‘impossible’ to know if Russia was responsible for election hacks, speculated that the Obama admin manipulated intel, schemed to ‘trap’ Trump officials by sanctioning Moscow & Trump should ‘pardon everyone’ in the Russia matter.”

  214. says

    “Announcing a New Lawfare Podcast Series: The Report”:

    We are excited to announce a new project we’ve been working on for the past few weeks here at Lawfare. We are launching a new podcast documentary series on the Mueller Report. Called, “The Report,” it will tell the story of what is actually in the Special Counsel’s report, over a number of narrative episodes featuring the extended family of Lawfare analysts and many of the journalists who broke and reported on key stories the Mueller report details. The series aims to be fair and factual and reasonably comprehensive about the contents of the report, while presenting it in a format more digestible than 448 pages of dry legalese.

    It’s a hell of a story and there’s more in there than many people realize.

    Here’s the trailer:…

  215. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Nobody ever mentions Article II. It give me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before. We don’t even talk about Article II

    The mind boggles. I’m not American and I know about Article II. Big fan of Section 4, by the way. Y’all should get on that.

  216. says

    Marina Hyde:

    …Great leaders show, rather than tell, their skills. Yet Johnson never lets up with telling people that he is not “defeatist”, that he will “put some lead in the collective pencil”, that “energy” is needed, that what the EU really fears is a big strong man like him. Mm. I hear they talk of little else in the 27 European capitals. “O Fates, please spare us the dreaded ‘positive energy’ of a guy internationally ridiculed as the worst foreign secretary in memory; and the unplayable charm of a surprisingly indifferent orator who knows the Latin for ‘can we just take out the backstop?’”

    And Johnson does know Latin, as he never misses a chance to remind us. No one could accuse him of wearing his learning lightly – or, indeed, wearing any of it lightly. Witness his excruciating promise to reach out to something he pointedly referred to as “Oppidan Britain”. To which the increasingly despairing response has to be: YES YES! I KNOW WHAT SCHOOL YOU WENT TO! I KNOW WHAT HOUSE YOU WERE IN! I KNOW YOU GOT A SECOND CLASS CLASSICS DEGREE! I KNOW THIS SOMEHOW ENDS WITH YOU CONSIGNING OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY TO THE CATACOMBS THEN BEATING US TO DEATH WITH YOUR RELATIVELY MIDDLEBROW ACHIEVEMENTS! But mate: you are 55 – FIFTY-FIVE – years old. How, how can you possibly still be wanking on about any of this, in public, as though it was still the best thing you’ve ever done? Can it really be because it was? [Spoiler: yes.]

    It feels doubly shameful that this gilded overpromotee should have failed to defend Darroch, a scholarship boy who grew up in a council house, but who appears to have drawn rather less self-admiring attention to his own background than Johnson insists upon doing every time his carers let him out. He may use longer words, but Johnson’s sledgehammer self-admiration does not differ materially from the US president’s diurnal reminders that he is a strong, good-looking and very stable genius.

    In many ways, there can be no greater therapist’s case study than Trump. If – like many of us at times in our lives – you are one of those people who thinks they’d feel better about themselves if they only got that promotion/ earned more money/ were more successful in whichever way, then will you just look at this guy. LOOK AT HIM. He’s the actual president of the actual United States of America, and he still spends half his time tweeting on the bog, horrifyingly weakly, about people who should be so far below his sight line as to not even remotely register. What a reminder that it’s really not about how you do externally. Unless you take care of your shit, it’s still there inside, gnawing you to bits, and it never goes away. For all his unrivalled power and immense wealth, Donald Trump is by far and away the most insecure person most of us have ever seen.

    And it looks like we’re getting our own, small-pond version of him inside of a fortnight. If only alleged strongman Boris Johnson had found some way of taking care of his shit. Instead, we’ll be picking up the tab. Still, I’m sure every Briton will be honoured by the chance to play their small part in the larger story of this one defective, arrogant man. Or, to put it in classical terms we can all understand, the guy who really puts the anus into Coriolanus.

  217. says

    Trump thinks that anyone who disagrees with him, or who dislikes him must have been paid to do so. What kind of weird worldview is that?

    Asked about former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this morning, Donald Trump launched into a rather long tirade, which culminated in a curious claim:

    “[F]or him to be going out and opening his mouth is pretty incredible. But maybe he gets paid for that. Who knows? Maybe he gets paid for that.”

    […] Ryan spoke to Tim Alberta for the reporter’s new book, “American Carnage.” The idea that the former House Speaker was perhaps bribed by a journalist to say unflattering things about Trump is absurd.

    But the claim is nevertheless familiar because the president makes it fairly regularly. Almost immediately after taking office, for example, Trump was confronted with progressive protests, causing the Republican to lash out at those he condemned as “paid protesters.”

    Because in his mind, if people didn’t like him, it couldn’t have been the result of genuine disgust.

    In October 2018, as Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination sparked protests, Trump again argued that progressive activists were part of a corrupt ruse. “[L]ook at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others,” the president wrote on Twitter. “These are not signs made in the basement from love!”

    In March 2019, after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, testified to Congress about his former boss, the president suggested Cohen was “being paid” by Hillary Clinton.

    Now, it’s Paul Ryan whom Trump suspects is on the take.

    As hard as this may be for the president to believe, some people criticize Trump for reasons that have nothing to do with corruption or secret payments. Many believe he’s worthy of criticism for reasons that are entirely sincere.

    Link

  218. says

    Senator Elizabeth Warren posted her immigration-reform plan. It includes an “Office of New Americans” that would help facilitate integration, including English lessons.

    Politico link

    […] the proposal calls for allowing more immigrants to come into the country legally, lifting the refugee cap from 30,000 under the Trump administration to 125,000 and then 175,000; a revamp of the immigration court system to establish independence from Justice Department leaders; and the creation of an “Office of New Americans” tasked with facilitating integration, including teaching English. […]

    “We must address the humanitarian mess at the border and reverse this president’s discriminatory policies,” Warren wrote in a Medium post describing her plan. “But that won’t be nearly enough to fix our immigration system. We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands.”

    Perhaps anticipating criticism from the right that she and other Democrats support “open borders,” Warren said that her plan would be “a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.” And in a nod to concerns from some labor unions about increasing immigration levels, Warren wrote that “[w]e should put American workers first by ensuring that workers already here get the first opportunity to fill any available positions.” […]

  219. says

    Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced her senior care plan.

    […] She is the first 2020 presidential candidate to roll out a policy specifically targeting the elderly population. […]

    “Everywhere I go, I meet seniors who tell me about their struggles to afford everyday costs like prescription drugs or health care,” Klobuchar said. “I meet family members who face challenges caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and urgent action is needed to take on these problems. I believe we owe it to our seniors to make sure they have the care and support they need as they get older, and as President I will prioritize tackling Alzheimer’s, strengthening health care and retirement security, and reducing prescription drug costs.”

    Key highlights of her campaign’s senior plan include:

    Tackling Alzheimer’s and other chronic conditions by supporting caregivers, strengthening the National Institutes of Health and investing in research for chronic conditions, improving mental health care for seniors, expanding dementia training and implementing a law to help locate missing people with dementia or developmental disabilities.

    Ensuring a secure retirement by protecting social security […]

    Improving health care for seniors and lowering prescription drug costs by taking immediate and aggressive action to negotiate better drug prices […] and strengthen Medicare and expand its coverage to dental, vision, and hearing.

    Investing in long-term care by working with Congress to create a refundable tax credit to offset long-term care costs […]

    Reducing costs and preventing fraud by fighting elder abuse, helping seniors afford energy costs, and improving seniors’ access to affordable housing, transit, nutrition and workforce opportunities. […]

    NBC News link

  220. says

    Trump thinks that anyone who disagrees with him, or who dislikes him must have been paid to do so. What kind of weird worldview is that?

    It seems another case of projection. Trump is in the habit of getting people to lie for him, so he thinks other people do the same.

  221. says

    “Kim Darroch’s 6 Ways to manipulate Donald Trump”:

    Kim Darroch, until very recently the British ambassador to the United States, was forced to resign Wednesday for leveling with his bosses about U.S. President Donald Trump.

    In a series of confidential memos and cables leaked to the Mail on Sunday and published over the weekend, Darroch went off on Trump with the sort of vitriol that you would expect from a journalist trying out for a column in the opinion pages of the New York Times. Trump and his administration are “clumsy and inept,” “radiates insecurity,” “dysfunctional,” and “mired in scandal.” Trump has a habit of making things up, Darroch wrote, and could be indebted to “dodgy Russians.”

    Nothing we didn’t already know, right? But as Darroch collects his things in a cardboard box and exits the British Embassy, his most substantive insights have been largely ignored by the press. Several inches down in the Mail on Sunday blockbuster, the piece lays out strategies Darroch recommended to British politicians and officials for staying on Trump’s winning side. Far more damaging to Trump than the standard trash-talking he receives every day, Darroch’s strategies portray the president as an emotionally frail child-man who can easily be manipulated. The method he suggests is to pay constant attention to Trump, dose him with flattery, and suck up to his friends and staff. Darroch, in the Mail on Sunday article, provides a road map for how journalists, politicians, diplomats and adversaries can manipulate Trump. Here’s a recap….

    More at the link.

  222. says

    NBC with more re SDNY filing:

    Accused child sex predator Jeffrey Epstein wired a total of $350,000 to a pair of possible co-conspirators just days after the publication of a newspaper story alleging he sexually abused dozens of underage girls, federal prosecutors said Friday.

    The prosecutors said the payments, which were made last November after the bombshell Miami Herald story came out, demonstrate Epstein’s willingness to tamper with witnesses.

    “This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations,” the prosecutors wrote in court papers arguing that Epstein should remain behind bars until his trial….

    Also includes: “there would be little to stop the defendant from fleeing, transferring his unknown assets abroad, and then continuing to do whatever it is he does to earn his vast wealth from a computer terminal beyond the reach of extradition.”

  223. says

    The US will soon have an Acting Labor Sec, an Acting DHS Sec and no Dep Sec, an Acting Defense Sec and no Dep Sec, an Acting White House Chief of Staff, an Acting CBP Commiss., an Acting ICE Dir, an Acting USCIS Dir, an Acting UN Ambassador, an Acting FDA Commiss.,….

    An Acting OMB Director, an Acting Secretary of the Army, an Acting Secretary of the Air Force, an Acting DHS Under Secretary for Management, no DHS Under Secretary for Science & Tech, no DHS Under Secretary for Strategy, and an Acting FEMA Director. (PS: it’s hurricane season!)”

  224. says

    “Prosecutors unlikely to charge Trump Org executives, sources say”:

    A federal investigation into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign-finance laws appears to be wrapping up without charges being filed, according to people familiar with the matter.

    For months, federal prosecutors in New York have examined whether company officials broke the law, including in their effort to reimburse Michael Cohen for hush-money payments he made to women alleging affairs with his former boss, President Donald Trump.

    In recent weeks, however, their investigation has quieted, the people familiar with the inquiry said, and prosecutors now don’t appear poised to charge any Trump Organization executives in the probe that stemmed from the case against Cohen.

    In January, one month after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, prosecutors requested interviews with executives at the company, CNN reported. But prosecutors never followed up on their initial request, people familiar with the matter said, and the interviews never took place.

    Meanwhile, there has been no contact between the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and officials at the Trump Organization in more than five months, one person familiar with the matter said.

    There is no indication that the case has been formally closed, and former federal prosecutors cautioned that it is always possible that new information could revive the inquiry. The Manhattan US Attorney’s office continues to have at least one other ongoing Trump-connected investigation, a probe concerning the President’s inaugural committee….

  225. John Morales says

    Lynna @316,

    That’s a lot of taxpayer money:

    Trump’s July Fourth extravaganza – featuring tanks, a military flyover, and a Trump speech at the Lincoln Memorial – cost an estimated $5.4 million, according to rough figures Thursday. […]

    Well, at least the waste was not as nasty as usual.

    Perspective: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/16/syria-airstrikes-cost-to-us-taxpayers.html

    U.S. forces fired 66 Tomahawk cruise missiles on three Syrian targets early morning local time, making for a price tag of $92.4 million for those missiles alone.
    The U.S. fired 19 of a different kind of missile on Syria, for a cost of $26.6 million.

  226. KG says

    Berhe was found guilty on Friday of a much lesser charge of aiding illegal immigration for having helped his cousin to reach Libya – The Grauniad, quoted by blf@335

    Which itself raises the question of how Berhe helping his cousin reach Libya (presumably from Sudan, or Eritrea) could possibly be a crime in Italy. I suspect this conviction has the sole purpose of making it difficult for Berhe to get compensation for being kidnapped and tortured in Sudan at the behest of Italian authorities, then falsely imprisoned for 3 years.

  227. says

    From Susan B. Glasser, writing for The New Yorker:

    […] Trump hates criticism but loves to criticize. […] He is a cry baby, a snowflake, a wimp, as he himself might say. Many leaders are thin-skinned, but few are so publicly, transparently, unreservedly so. Along with a brazen disregard for facts and a willingness to flout norms that previous Presidents of both parties have observed, issuing a daily deluge of schoolyard taunts and petty insults may be the most distinguishing characteristic of Trump’s Administration. […]

    “It’s true, it’s incredible what it does,” he told a conservative social-media summit convened at the White House, on Thursday afternoon. “If I put it out on social media, it’s like an explosion.” Trump makes policy with his Twitter feed, using it to upend the best-laid plans of his Administration and to take on enemies both real and imagined. […]

    Trump may love to hurl insults and quite visibly relishes nothing so much as a public Twitter spat. He is willing, though, to accept and make peace with even his harshest critics, as long as they cease and desist from their public dissent. Trump cares about the appearance of criticism more than the criticism itself. His unheralded genius is not in insulting his critics but in co-opting them—or at least in coming to mutually beneficial truces of the sort that suggests Trump’s social-media histrionics are more calculated than they seem. […]

    The explanation for the utter collapse in Republican opposition to Trump is not so much brilliant politicking on Trump’s part as a mixture of traditional Washington hypocrisy and accommodation to power, combined with calculating individual ambition—like that which propelled Mulvaney into Trump’s Cabinet and his restive House Freedom Caucus colleagues into becoming the President’s most prominent Fox News shills. […]

    There is a practical dimension as well: If Trump had rebuffed all of his humbled former critics, there would be no way for him to staff his government or command such intense loyalty from a Republican Party that once was united against him. Around ninety per cent of Republicans currently approve of his performance in office, according to Gallup, which is a remarkable political feat when you consider that some sixty-five per cent of registered voters surveyed in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll said they consider Trump’s conduct in office “unpresidential” […]

    Still, sycophancy is an effective path to favor with any President, especially this one. Trump retains a Manichean view of the world, bracing in its Trump-centric simplicity. This informs foreign policy, domestic policy, and key decisions about hiring and firing—basically, everything he does. […] Consider Attorney General William Barr’s performance in the Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon, when he and Trump were announcing that the Administration would back off on Trump’s plan to add a citizenship question to the upcoming census. Bowing to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling against it, Barr claimed that the choice to forgo putting the question on the census was essentially a “logistical” obstacle, about timing. He applauded Trump for courageously agreeing to abide by the Court’s decision, declaring, “Congratulations again, Mr. President.”

    This backs up, in some ways, what LykeX says in comment 352.

  228. says

    Bits and pieces of news related to Democratic presidential candidates:

    Kirsten Gillibrand was asked about white privilege in the context of the opioid epidemic and industries leaving Youngstown, Ohio. She had [an] answer. [video at the embedded link]

    […] When a community has been left behind for generations because of the color of their skin, when you’ve been denied job after job after job because you’re back or because you’re brown. So institutional racism is real. It doesn’t take away your pain and your suffering […] To fix the problems that are happening in a black community you need far more transformation efforts that are targeted for real racism that exists every day. So, if you son is 15 years old and he smokes pot, he smokes pot just as much as the black boy in his neighborhood and the Latino boy in his neighborhood, but that black and brown boy is four times more likely to be arrested […]

    Pete Buttigieg released his Douglass Plan for “a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of Black America.”

    The decisions we make in the next four years will determine America’s path for the next forty. And a great deal of the progress we make–on everything from increasing economic freedom to confronting climate disruption–will depend on whether we tackle racial inequality in our lifetime. For all our country’s forward movement, Black people in America are still disproportionately excluded from systems of social protection, economic uplift, and representative democracy while facing shorter lifespans1, lower educational attainment2, and dramatic overcriminalization and incarceration compared to their white counterparts.3 […]

    Kamala Harris joined with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a bill to help people with criminal records obtain housing.

    Bernie Sanders wrote a Fortune op-ed: “America is drowning in student debt. Here’s my plan to end it.”

    Beto O’Rourke held an immigration roundtable at a refugee-owned coffee shop in Tennessee.

    Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan to boost clean energy production in the U.S.

    Joe Biden vowed to end Trump’s family separation and Muslim ban policies.

    Jay Inslee opposed the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the Great Lakes.

    Julián Castro spoke out for workers at Station Casinos, whose owners are refusing to recognize their union. […]

    Link

    See the link above for more embedded links leading to detailed reports.

  229. says

    From Wonkette:

    Today, July 13th, is both Barbershop Music Appreciation Day and International Skinny Dipping Day, making it the perfect day to get some friends together, get naked, and sing Sweet Adeline at the top of your lungs. Unless you live in Tennessee, where by proclamation of Republican Governor Bill Lee, it is Nathaniel Bedford Forrest Day, a day honoring a noted slave trader and the very first Grand Wizard of the KKK.

    I would recommend not celebrating that at all, in any way whatsoever.

    The holiday was not Gov. Lee’s own personal idea, he explained to reporters, but rather the law of the land — and yet, he did not express any desire to change said law of the land. […]

    Since 1969, Tennessee Governors have been required by law to issue proclamations for days honoring not only Forrest, but also Jefferson Davis (June 3) and Robert E. Lee (January 19th). These days were official state holidays up until that point, starting in 1921, six years following the premiere of Birth of a Nation, which set off a resurgence of the KKK throughout the American South.

    In Alabama, the days honoring Davis and Lee are still state holidays, because Alabama. […]

    Even Ted Cruz thought it was a bad idea (which is really saying something), though exclusively as an attempt to smear Democrats by pointing out that Forrest had been one at a time when the Democratic party was a very different thing than it is today.

    This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law.

    This is a lot like saying that the real problem with Ted Bundy was that he was a Republican delegate at the 1968 GOP convention, and then casually mentioning the fact that he also murdered at least 30 women as an afterthought, as a way to suggest that perhaps all Republicans are serial killers. Then again, Democratic Governors also do not go around declaring Ted Bundy’s birthday a state holiday on the regular.

  230. tomh says

    From Scotusblog:
    Battle over border wall comes to the court

    The battle over the Trump administration’s efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border came to the Supreme Court today, as the federal government asked the justices to block a lower-court order that barred the government from using $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds for construction of the wall.

    The lawsuit in which the justices have been asked to intervene was filed in February of this year by the Sierra Club, an environmental group, and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, a group that promotes policies to improve the quality of life in border communities. They argued that government officials exceeded their authority when they spent more money than Congress had allocated for border security – and, in particular, when the Department of Defense redirected $2.5 billion originally earmarked for military-personnel funds to its counter-narcotics funds for use in construction of the wall.

    A federal district court in California barred the government from using the money for border-wall construction, and on July 3 a federal appeals court rejected the government’s request to put a hold on that decision pending appeal. Judges Richard Clifton and Michelle Friedland concluded that, under federal law, after Congress had denied the government’s request for funds for the wall, the Department of Defense could not reallocate funds to accomplish the same thing.

    Today the government came to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to put the district court’s order on hold while it appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (and, if necessary, while the government seeks Supreme Court review). The government also asked the justices to enter an “administrative stay”—a temporary hold while the Supreme Court considers its request.

    In a filing by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the government told the justices that the ruling below was simply wrong: The “sole basis” for the order blocking it from using the $2.5 billion for border-wall construction “rests on a misreading” of the law that authorizes the Department of Defense to reallocate its funds in some circumstances. What’s more, the government added, the challengers’ “interests in hiking, bird watching, and fishing in designated drug-smuggling corridors do not outweigh the harm to the public from halting the government’s efforts to construct barriers to stanch the flow of illegal narcotics across the southern border.”

    The government asked the Supreme Court to act by July 26, telling the justices that the funds at the center of the dispute will be unavailable if they are not committed by the time the fiscal year ends on September 30. Justice Elena Kagan, who has primary responsibility for emergency appeals from the 9th Circuit, quickly called for a response from the challengers, setting a deadline of next Friday, July 19, at 4 p.m. EDT.

  231. says

    tomh @366, thanks for highlighting that.

    This part comes off as quite arrogant on the part of the government:

    […] the government added, the challengers’ “interests in hiking, bird watching, and fishing in designated drug-smuggling corridors do not outweigh the harm to the public from halting the government’s efforts to construct barriers to stanch the flow of illegal narcotics across the southern border.” […]

  232. blf says

    Lynna@174, “If you find the shell of the explosive device that took out your power, you can keep it. Don’t send it back. I fear my neighbors would just reload it and … boom!”

    Doubt it was the same shell, but the return fire did manage to take out NYC’s power — and a day early too… Ni! Ni!! Ni!!!

  233. says

    Lindsey Graham is playing doormat for Trump again.

    […] “What I saw is a bunch of people who have been here before, broke the law before, and we’re not going to let them go,” Graham told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo. “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we’re not going to let those men go that I saw. It would be dangerous.”

    Graham, who also serves at the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, claimed that “all of [the detained migrants] broke our law.”

    “All of them broke our law,” Graham said. “Many of them have done it before. And we’re not going to let them go.”

    And despite seeing for himself the unsanitary conditions of the two border facilities he had toured with Pence on Friday, Graham argued that “[t]his is not a concentration camp that I saw.”

    “It is a facility overwhelmed,” he said.

    Though Graham claims “all” of the migrant detainees he saw had broken the law by entering the country illegally, seeking asylum is not illegal. Additionally, Pence spoke to two children, not grown men, at one of the facilities who told him they’d walked for two or three months to reach the U.S. […]

    TPM link

  234. says

    Playing the Birther card worked well for Trump when it came to Barrack Obama, so now Trump is using a similar tactic against several congresswomen.

    So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……

    ….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….

    ….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

    Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib were both born in the USA. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a U.S. citizen of Puerto Rican descent. She is lives in the Bronx. Ocasio-Cortez was born in The Bronx, New York City on October 13, 1989. Representative Ilhan Omar is a U.S. citizen who was previously a refugee from Somalia.

    From readers comments on Talking Points Memo:

    Desperate and weak. Not enough oxygen getting to his brain. Sad.
    —————–
    It’s the call of the orange dungpuffin.
    —————–
    Is he including his first and current wives?
    ———————
    The president of the United States is tweeting this shit. What the FUCK is this man unleashing? What will this country be like for young people if he’s reelected? More shootings at synagogues, schools, and government buildings? Meh, if it gets him another four years, who cares. Entire GOP shrugs. Open season on libs.
    ————————
    I love how this fine Christian man (one of our best ever) begins his Sabbath by spewing hatred.
    ———————
    This is basically that paunchy loudmouth ranting at some black family at the local diner to “go back to Africa. Alas, he’s the President. [From Josh Marshall]

    From Nancy Pelosi:

    When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to “Make America Great Again has always been about making America white again.

    Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.

    I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation. Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values. Stop the raids – #FamiliesBelongTogether!

  235. says

    blf @368, Ha! Thanks for the laugh.

    In other news, US Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli refused to say if ICE will separate undocumented families in the raids supposedly going on today (Sunday).

    […] During CNN’s “State of the Union,” reporter Jake Tapper asked Cuccinelli, “Can you guarantee that no parents will be separated from their children, excluding the violent criminals that we were talking about earlier, can you guarantee no parents will be separated from children in the raids?”

    The USCIS acting director was evasive.

    “In the same way I wasn’t willing to talk about operational details, that would an operational detail that I’m not gonna comment on,” he responded. “There are a million people, including families, with removal orders. The priority remains for ICE to get at criminals.”

    When Tapper asked how pledging not to separate undocumented parents from their kids was revealing an “operation detail,” Cuccinelli began talking about “loopholes.”

    “I’m not gonna say yes or no to anything like that because then certain people out there can write themselves off the list or find a way to play a loophole and the loopholes in our legal system are what we’ve been screaming to be fixed,” he said. […]

    Cuccinelli is tap-dancing around the issue.

    Meanwhile, some of the mass raids that Trump promised seem to be less than mass.

  236. says

    The Root posted a video of Dershowitz calling a victimized child a prostitute. “She made her own decisions.”

    Welp, welcome to the slippery sleazy slope that comes with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s recent arrest for child sex trafficking.

    Internet sleuths have uncovered a 2015 video of Harvard attorney and Epstein’s friend, Alan Dershowitz, who worked to get Epstein a sweetheart deal in a 2008 plea agreement, admitting to getting a massage at Epstein’s mansion.

    During an interview with Miami news station WPLG regarding Britain’s Prince Andrew (another friend of Epstein) and his alleged sexual involvement with an underaged girl who was allegedly kept as a sex slave by Epstein, Dershowitz not only bashed the accuser, calling her an “admitted prostitute and a serial liar” but claimed that the then-teen was not victimized and in fact “made her own decisions in life.” […]

    Link

    The child was 15 years old.

  237. says

    From Elizabeth Warren:

    On my first day I will empower a commission to investigate crimes by the United States against immigrants. Donald Trump may be willing to look the other way but President Elizabeth Warren will not.

    Let there be no ambiguity on this. If you are violating the basic rights of immigrants, now or in the future, a Warren administration will hold you accountable.

  238. says

    Followup to comment 370.

    From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

    Mr. President, the country I “come from,” & the country we all swear to, is the United States.

    But given how you’ve destroyed our border with inhumane camps, all at a benefit to you & the corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet.

    You are angry because you don’t believe in an America where I represent New York 14, where the good people of Minnesota elected @IlhanMN, where @RashidaTlaib fights for Michigan families, where @AyannaPressley champions little girls in Boston.

    You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.

    You won’t accept a nation that sees healthcare as a right or education as a #1 priority, especially where we’re the ones fighting for it.

    Yet here we are.

    But you know what’s the rub of it all, Mr. President?

    On top of not accepting an America that elected us, you cannot accept that we don’t fear you,either.

    You can’t accept that we will call your bluff & offer a positive vision for this country. And that’s what makes you seethe.

    I think AOC was on point when she pointed out that it must infuriate Trump when all those women do not fear him.

    Representative Justin Amash, who recently quit the Republican party to become an Independent, called Trump’s comments “racist and disgusting.”

  239. says

    Regarding the “mass raids” that are sort of not really there:

    […] The original raids were scheduled to being in the early morning; however Sunday’s planned raids seemingly got off to a quiet start, with immigration advocates saying that many targeted communities had seen little movement from authorities.

    “I can’t help but feel like we are waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Adonia Simpson, director of family defense for the nonprofit Americans for Immigrant Justice told the Miami Herald. “Given the anxiety I have been feeling, I can only imagine the fear our immigrant communities feel this morning.”

    Ahead of the raids, local governments and pro-immigrant groups created advisories to inform immigrants of their rights when dealing with ICE. […]

    What we know
    ICE agents began operations in Harlem and Brooklyn Saturday evening. The ICE officials were reportedly turned away by residents because they did not have warrants.

    Agents were reportedly seen in Immokalee, a Florida community 35 miles east of Fort Myers, Friday evening knocking on doors in an immigrant community. […]

    ICE facilities and offices in cities like Chicago and Baltimore reportedly showed no signs of activity as of early Sunday morning. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told MSNBC her city was on alert, but that as of 9 am EST, “We’ve not heard anything.”

    Link

  240. says

    As immigrant families wait in dread, there is no sign of large-scale enforcement raids.

    Washington Post link

    […] as many undocumented families stayed indoors and activists fanned out in predominantly immigrant neighborhoods to serve as witnesses and protesters in the event of arrests, there was little evidence that the promised raids were underway.

    “I won’t speak to specifically anything that’s going on from an operational perspective,” Matthew Albence, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Sunday on Fox News when asked, “What is happening this morning, at this moment? […]

    Privately, ICE officials have also acknowledged that there is little chance they will encounter the targets of the planned enforcement operation at the addresses that received such letters, particularly after the president publicly announced the start date for the raids. […]

  241. says

    Ugh. Yuck. Awful. Rabbi Rafi Peretz is the worst kind of rightwing religious zealot.

    “Israel’s education minister sparks outrage after advocating gay conversion therapy.”

    Washington Post link

    Israel’s newly appointed education minister has ignited an angry backlash after saying in a televised interview broadcast Saturday that he believes it is possible to perform conversion therapy on gay men and lesbians to change their sexual orientation.

    Rabbi Rafi Peretz, head of the far-right, ultranationalist Jewish Home Party, also told Channel 12 News that he had personally carried out such treatments in the past, counseling young religious students who spoke to him about being gay.

    “I think it is possible. I can tell you I have a very deep familiarity with this kind of education, and I have also done this,” the minister said when asked whether he thought people could change such inclinations.

    Peretz, a former chief military rabbi, described counseling one student, saying: “I hugged him first, then uttered very warm words. I told him that we needed to think about this, learn about this, observe this. The objective is for him first of all to know himself, and then I can give him the data.” […]

    Peretz also said in the interview that he believes Israel should annex the entire West Bank, but under no circumstances allow the more than 2 million Palestinians living there the right to vote.

    “Israel should have full sovereignty in the West Bank,” he said. “We will take care of [the Palestinians’] needs and make sure it is good for them . . . but of course they would not be able to vote.”

    Members of Israel’s LGBTQ community said they would hold a protest Sunday evening to decry Peretz’s comments and call for his resignation.

    “There is only one adequate response to such dark statements by the minister of education and that is to fire him immediately,” the National Association of LGBT in Israel said in a statement. “It is imperative to prevent Israeli girls and boys from exposure to the homophobic poison disseminated by one who is presumed to be involved with education and values.” […]

    More at the link.

  242. says

    Yikes! More bad news on the immigration front.

    Early next week, according to a D.H.S. official, the Trump Administration is expected to announce a major immigration deal, known as a safe-third-country agreement, with Guatemala. For weeks, there have been reports that negotiations were under way between the two countries, but, until now, none of the details were official.

    According to a draft of the agreement obtained by The New Yorker, asylum seekers from any country who either show up at U.S. ports of entry or are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry could be sent to seek asylum in Guatemala instead.</b? […] Under this new arrangement, most of these migrants will no longer have a chance to make an asylum claim in the U.S. at all. “We’re talking about something much bigger than what the term ‘safe third country’ implies,” someone with knowledge of the deal told me. “We’re talking about a kind of transfer agreement where the U.S. can send any asylum seekers, not just Central Americans, to Guatemala.”

    From the start of the Trump Presidency, Administration officials have been fixated on a safe-third-country policy with Mexico—a similar accord already exists with Canada—since it would allow the U.S. government to shift the burden of handling asylum claims farther south. The principle was that migrants wouldn’t have to apply for asylum in the U.S. because they could do so elsewhere along the way. But immigrants-rights advocates and policy experts pointed out that Mexico’s legal system could not credibly take on that responsibility.

    “If you’re going to pursue a safe-third-country agreement, you have to be able to say ‘safe’ with a straight face,” Doris Meissner, a former commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, told me.

    […] What’s so striking about the agreement with Guatemala, however, is that it goes even further than the terms the U.S. sought in its dealings with Mexico. “This is a whole new level,” the person with knowledge of the agreement told me. “In my read, it looks like even those who have never set foot in Guatemala can potentially be sent there.”

    […]. A lot will still have to happen before it goes into force, and the terms aren’t final. […] but it does offer an exemption for Guatemalan migrants, which might be why the government of Jimmy Morales, a U.S. ally, seems willing to sign on. Guatemala is currently in the midst of Presidential elections […] A U.N.-backed anti-corruption body called the cicig, which for years was funded by the U.S. and admired throughout the region, is being dismantled by Morales, whose own family has fallen under investigation for graft and financial improprieties. Signing an immigration deal “would get the Guatemalan government in the U.S.’s good graces,” […]

    The biggest, and most unsettling, question raised by the agreement is how Guatemala could possibly cope with such enormous demands. More people are leaving Guatemala now than any other country in the northern triangle of Central America. Rampant poverty, entrenched political corruption, urban crime, and the effects of climate change have made large swaths of the country virtually uninhabitable. […] Although the U.S. would provide additional aid to help the Guatemalan government address the influx of asylum seekers, it isn’t clear whether the country has the administrative capacity to take on the job. According to the person familiar with the safe-third-country agreement, “U.N.H.C.R. [the U.N.’s refugee agency] has not been involved” in the current negotiations. And, for Central Americans transferred to Guatemala under the terms of the deal, there’s an added security risk: many of the gangs Salvadorans and Hondurans are fleeing also operate in Guatemala.

    […] Since January, under a policy called the Migration Protection Protocols (M.P.P.), the U.S. government has sent more than fifteen thousand asylum seekers to Mexico, where they now must wait indefinitely as their cases inch through the backlogged American immigration courts. Cities in northern Mexico, such as Tijuana and Juarez, are filling up with desperate migrants who are exposed to violent crime, extortion, and kidnappings, all of which are on the rise.This week, as part of the M.P.P., the U.S. began sending migrants to Tamaulipas, one of Mexico’s most violent states and a stronghold for drug cartels that, for years, have brutalized migrants for money and for sport.

    Yes. In reference to the last paragraph above, we already know how a supposedly “safe third country” policy works, or rather, how it fails.

    Safe-third-country agreements are notoriously difficult to enforce. The logistics are complex, and the outcomes tend not to change the harried calculations of asylum seekers as they flee their homes. […]

    “The U.S. has used the agreement with Guatemala to convince the Mexicans to sign their own safe-third-country agreement,” the former official said. “Its argument is that the number of migrants Mexico will receive will be lower now.”

    New Yorker link. The article is by Jonathan Blitzer. More details at the link.

  243. blf says

    Indonesian woman who recorded boss’s lewd call gets jail reprieve:

    […]
    A woman, facing six months in prison in Indonesia for recording a lewd phone call by her boss as evidence she was being harassed, is expected to receive a presidential amnesty after an outcry over the sentence.

    Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo said on Friday he had suspended enforcement of the sentence and a 500 million rupiah ($35,200) fine that was last week upheld by the Supreme Court.

    […]

    Baiq Nuril Maknun’s ordeal began years ago when, as a temporary teacher at a school on Lombok island, she began receiving telephone calls from the headteacher describing his sexual relationship with another woman.

    Maknun recorded one of the calls and distributed it from an electronic device, which resulted in the headteacher losing his job.

    However, Maknun was later prosecuted for violating an electronic communications law.

    The ruling was condemned by rights groups and supporters who established an online crowdfunding appeal to pay for her legal costs last year.

    A letter, signed by nine groups, including the Bangkok-based Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and Jakarta-based Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, said the ruling would only “perpetuate the culture of victim-blaming”.

    In an interview published by the BBC on Thursday, Maknun said that while the case has taken more than its fair share of emotional toll on her and her three children, she would not back down.

    […]

  244. blf says

    A follow-up on the case of the innocent Medhanie Berhe (see @335), Italy court says Eritrean in migrant case was victim of mistaken identity:

    [… T]he court said he could go free. But rather than release him, police took Berhe to a facility in the center of Sicily where migrants are placed ahead of their eventual expulsion.

    His lawyer Michele Calantropo said Berhe had a right under Italian law to appeal his conviction, adding that he thought it would be illegal to expel him at this point in time.

    I have unable to locate (in English) any details on the seemingly-bizarre conviction for (as the above Reuters report describes it) “abetting people smuggling”. This Italian report, L’uomo eritreo accusato per errore di essere un trafficante sarà rilasciato says (via Generalisimo Google translate):

    Formally, Berhe was sentenced to five years for aiding and abetting illegal immigration because he had contact with a human trafficker […]. Berhe will be released because he has already spent the maximum detention period in prison for the crime of abetting illegal immigration, three years.

    That Italian report also notes the case is little-known in Italy, and credits the international press — and in particular, the Grauniad and Swedish public television — with diligently pursuing the story, raising doubts starting on about the very day of Mr Berhe’s arrest(? extradition?).

  245. says

    Lynna @ #374:

    Representative Justin Amash, who recently quit the Republican party to become an Independent, called Trump’s comments “racist and disgusting.”

    I didn’t know this until (I think) Dean Obeidallah mentioned it on AM Joy recently – both of Amash’s parents immigrated to the US. His father was Palestinian and his mother came from Syria. It would be amazing that he stayed so long in the Republican Party were it not for his despicable views on reproductive rights, health care, economic justice, etc.

  246. says

    NBC – “Gay codebreaker Alan Turing to be featured on British bank note”:

    A pioneering British mathematician whose codebreaking helped end World War II but was persecuted under anti-homosexuality laws is to be honored on British bank notes.

    Alan Turing, credited by many as the father of modern computing, will be featured on the £50 ($63) note starting in 2021, the Bank of England said Monday.

    Turing’s work on codebreaking was instrumental in the Allied victory in World War II, and he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1945.

    However, he was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for sexual relations with another man and avoided prison by accepting chemical castration.

    His personal life became subject to intense scrutiny, with British security officials concerned his sexuality was a security risk.

    Turing died June 7, 1954, of cyanide poisoning; a half-eaten apple was found beside his bed. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide.

    Turing was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 after years of campaigning by the mathematician’s many supporters. The then-Justice Minister Chris Grayling labeled his conviction “unjust and discriminatory”.

    The bank note will feature Turing’s signature and one of his quotes: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

  247. blf says

    In teh NKofE, dear lame duck lino’s Home Office lied to EU states so it could deport slavery victims, say whistleblowers:

    […]
    Whistleblowers allege that, while operating as the third country unit, the now renamed Dublin cessation unit (DCU) regularly lied to other member states and manipulated the system by sending them “extra time” letters, falsely claiming asylum applicants had launched appeals. These letters remove the deadline — usually six months — after which someone seeking asylum can no longer be removed from the UK and sent to the EU country determined to be responsible for assessing their claim.

    […]

    [… W]histleblowers have told the Guardian the Home Office detains, releases and then detains people again because of administrative errors or escorts not being available. Such behaviour is, according to a specialist lawyer, “an abuse of power and arguably unlawful”.

    […]

    The DCU is a little known but crucial department that, under the EU Dublin convention, determines which EU member state is responsible for considering an asylum claim and transferring the asylum seeker to that state.

    Once the unit has determined which member state has responsibility for someone seeking asylum and made a referral to the national referral mechanism, it has a short period of time to deport them there. Under the Dublin regulation, if the person seeking asylum is not returned within the specified period of time — usually six months — they can no longer be removed from the UK.

    The unit can, however, get more time to consider an application if the applicant launches a last-minute judicial review, is in prison or absconds. In this case, it sends the EU member state an “extra time” letter. That letter gives the unit an indefinite amount of extra time before the applicant’s case has to be considered as a UK issue.

    But the sources allege that […] if the unit found it did not have enough time to process a national referral mechanism claim — one involving human trafficking and slavery — it sent an “extra time” letter to the member state concerned, falsely claiming the applicant had launched an appeal.

    Greg Ó Ceallaigh, a barrister specialising in immigration law at Garden Court Chambers, said this alleged manipulation of the system would be “an extremely serious matter indeed. Staggeringly dishonest and wholly illegal.”

    He added: “It is a systematic attempt to circumvent the strict requirements of EU law that were put in place specifically to protect this hugely vulnerable category of people. It is a disgraceful and illegal manipulation of the system.”

    […]

    Additional details at the link.

  248. blf says

    From the Gruaniad’s current live States blog:

    […] Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tells her daily newspaper [Boston Globe] that she doesn’t refer to Trump as president. And that the Squad is a lot bigger than AOC, Ilan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and her.

    Here’s a quote from the piece:

    “I never use the word you used — president — to describe him,” she said. “I refer to him as ‘the occupant.’ He simply occupies the space. He embodies zero of the qualities and the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity, the compassion, of someone who would truly embody that office. It’s just another day in the world under this administration.”

  249. says

    SDNY says they learned today that Epstein had in a locked safe a foreign passport issued in the 1980s, expired, with a photo that appears to be Epstein and a name that is not his. It also gives his place of residence as Saudi Arabia.”

    Also in the safe: cash and diamonds. I believe the judge said he would render his decision on Epstein’s bail on Thursday.

  250. blf says

    SC@386, The Gruaniad’s current live States blog suggests Graham is echoing hair furor:

    […] The president [sic] continues […]

    We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of Communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they’re calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards […]

    And LOTS more garbage…

  251. says

    TPM – “DOJ Must Take Position In Trump Bid To Shut Down House Probe, Court Says”:

    An appeals court on Monday ordered the Justice Department to state its position in a case that President Trump filed to shut down a House investigation of his finances.

    The government must file an amicus brief by Aug. 6, the court said, in a case where Trump hired personal attorneys to prevent his longtime accountant from complying with a Congressional subpoena for his financial records.

    After a D.C. federal judge upheld the subpoena, Trump filed an appeal.

    During oral arguments on Friday, judges at the D.C. appeals court repeatedly questioned the President’s personal attorney William Consovoy about whether his representation of Trump extended to the President in his official capacity….

  252. blf says

    In teh NKofE, the Grauniad has found an about ten-year-old essay by teh putinoris (possible next Russian head of state, albeit not of Russia), Boris Johnson claimed Islam put Muslim world centuries behind:

    […]
    Boris Johnson has been strongly criticised for arguing Islam has caused the Muslim world to be literally centuries behind the west, in an essay unearthed by the Guardian.

    Writing about the rise of the religion in an appendix added to a later edition of The Dream of Rome, his 2006 book about the Roman empire, Johnson said there was something about Islam that hindered development in parts of the globe and, as a result, Muslim grievance was a factor in virtually every conflict.

    Johnson’s argument was described as disconcerting and problematic by Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim hate and said he had demonstrated a lack of understanding of the religion. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said many people would like to know if the favourite to become the next prime minister still believed Islam inherently inhibits the path to progress and freedom.

    […]

    Mohammed Amin, a former chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said Johnson’s analysis risked “actively promoting hatred of Muslims”. Amin was expelled by the forum in June after criticising the party leadership’s response to reports of Islamophobia and comparing Johnson’s popularity to that of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

    In the book, published after the airing of a TV series with the same name, Johnson likened the Roman empire to the EU, marvelling at the former’s ability to create unity across continents.

    Oh good grief. That reminds me of the recent nutter assertion, in the EU Parliament, that that leaving the EU (brexit) was equivalent to emancipating slaves.

    […]
    Tell Mama said the essay portrayed Muslims as “a wave or horde … who had little time for the intricacies and legacies of civilisations like that of Rome”.

    Johnson’s words gave the impression Muslims were somehow “mentally constrained by Islam”, they said. “That shows a lack of understanding of Islam, and there are many Muslims whom Islam has inspired to produce some of the most beautiful art forms in their love for life and beauty. We hope Johnson works to support all communities in the future, and we are here to assist and support that.”

    […]

    At least he (apparently) didn’t claim Muhammad and the Romans were contemporaneous.

  253. says

    Daily Beast – “Award-Winning Reporter to Counter-Sue Man Who Bankrolled Brexit for ‘Harassment’”:

    The award-winning journalist whose investigations led to the collapse of Donald Trump’s campaign-data gurus Cambridge Analytica and a record $5 billion fine for Facebook has launched a lawsuit for harassment against the man who bankrolled Brexit.

    Carole Cadwalladr, a freelance investigative reporter, served the papers Monday against Arron Banks, the largest Brexit campaign donor. Lawyers acting on her behalf say a campaign of harassment, trolling, and threats of violence culminated Friday with a libel suit filed at the High Court against Cadwalladr for remarks she made during a TED talk, at a convention in London, and in a tweet.

    “This is such an abuse of the law by Arron Banks. He’s not suing TED. He’s not suing The Observer or The Guardian. He’s a bully who’s targeting me as an individual to harass and intimidate me and prevent me from doing journalism, a course of behavior that has been going on for more than two years,” Cadwalladr told The Daily Beast.

    Cadwalladr’s exposés of Cambridge Analytica and its alleged links to Banks and his Leave.EU campaign have appeared in The Observer and The Guardian newspapers. Multiple media outlets have also reported on Banks’ relationship with Russian officials, including the Kremlin’s ambassador in London. Banks and his team have not sued over those stories.

    Britain’s National Crime Agency is investigating Banks for his involvement in the Brexit campaign, after the Electoral Commission said there were reasonable grounds to suspect Banks was “not the true source” of $10 million donated to Leave.EU.

    In both cases, Cadwalladr says she will use the defense that her statements were true. It has been reported that Banks was offered Russian mining contracts and Banks and his spokesman Andy Wigmore have repeatedly changed their stories on how many times they met with Russian officials in London.

    “I think people can see exactly what’s going on here. It’s an attack on journalism by a man whose millions are now the subject of a criminal investigation. I can see why he’s touchy about me talking about his relationship with the Russian government, though. I would be too if I’d gone to the lengths he has to conceal it,” Cadwalladr said.

    “What I really hope now is that members of Parliament will start asking hard and serious questions about why he twice visited the Russian embassy in the week he launched the Leave.EU campaign and why the Russian government might have wanted him to take one of the exciting gold and diamond deals it took great trouble to introduce him to.”

    Cadwalladr’s solicitors wrote to Banks’ legal team Monday to say they would pursue a counterclaim if the libel action against her continues. “Litigation can form part of a course of conduct amounting to harassment,” her solicitor Ravi Naik wrote. “Should your client continue with these unmeritous proceedings, our client will counter claim against your client for harassment.”…

    More at the link. She tweeted:

    A short list. Arron Banks has:
    – Reported me to police
    – Released a video of me being violently assaulted & threatened with a gun
    – Retweeted Russian embassy attacks against me
    – Threatened, repeatedly, to sue me
    – Launched actual legal proceedings against me”

  254. says

    “Italian police seize missile in raids on far right”:

    Italian police have seized a large cache of combat weapons, including an air-to-air missile, in raids on far-right extremist groups.

    The operation, led by a counter-terrorism police force in Turin, took place in several cities in northern Italy on Monday. Three men were arrested in the raids.

    Officers found ammunition and firearms, including assault rifles and a submachine gun, as well as neo-Nazi paraphernalia, the police said in a statement.

    In an airport hangar, police also found an air-to-air missile which the men were allegedly trying to sell. Italian media reported the missile had come from Qatar.

    The police said the raids had been part of an investigation into Italian far-right members who participated in the Russian-backed insurgency in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region….

  255. blf says

    Row erupts over antibiotics discovery in Bangladesh packaged milk:

    Dhaka University research team conducts two separate tests within a month to find antibiotics in five major milk brands.

    The discovery of hazardous antibiotics in some of the most popular packaged milk brands in Bangladesh has raised serious health concerns and triggered controversy.

    A research team in Dhaka University, led by Professor ABM Faroque, conducted two separate tests within a month and found antibiotics present in at least five major milk brands.

    “The only difference is that we found three types of antibiotics in the first study, the second time we found four,” said Faroque, who is a former head of the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Dhaka University, one of the country’s premier educational institutions.

    “For the sake of public health, I wanted to test popular pasteurised milk products to check whether those contain any harmful antibiotics,” Faroque told Al Jazeera.

    “Since most commercial dairy firms feed excessive antibiotics to their cows to keep them free of diseases, I wanted to check the condition of their milk.”

    […]

    Experts warn that sustained intake of antibiotics builds resistance against them inside a human body, thereby blocking a person’s ability to recover during an illness.

    However, authorities at Dhaka University as well as in the government rejected the findings, with a senior government official even threatening legal action against the academic.

    […]

    Last week, Wasi Uddin, additional secretary in the Department of Livestock Services reportedly threatened to take legal action against Faroque.

    Bring the publication to the ministry within a week if you have published the findings in a peer-reviewed journal. Otherwise, legal actions will be taken against you, he is reported to have said during a meeting on the matter.

    Wasi Uddin also questioned the objective of the study, claiming many local and foreign forces were conspiring to destroy Bangladesh’s booming dairy industry.

    However, Firoz Ahmed, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry and Faroque’s co-researcher, told Al Jazeera that they had taken the approval of the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS), which falls under the Ministry of Education, for the study.

    “So it is basically a government-approved project under the supervision of Professor Faroque, who has vast experience in conducting such studies,” he said.

    […]

    Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), the country’s lone quality control body, appeared to be in a dilemma over whether to act on Faroque’s findings.

    In February, the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL) of Bangladesh found high levels of microbial contaminants in dairy products in a survey conducted with the support of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

    The survey prompted the High Court to ask the BSTI to test dairy products in the market and bring the results before the court.

    But the test results submitted by BSTI in court on June 25 did not find any harmful elements in the samples of 14 brands of packaged milk, including the five brands studied by Faroque’s team.

    However, media reports said BSTI did not have the mechanisms to detect harmful agents such as antibiotics or pesticides in food items.

    […]

    The National Dairy Development Forum (NDDF), which represents industrial dairy firms of Bangladesh, also dismissed Faroque’s report.

    I would say our processed milk is safe for human consumption, said NDDF general secretary Mohammad Anisur Rahman, who is also the dairy and food director of Brac Social Enterprise that produces the Aarong brand of milk.

    When Al Jazeera told Milk Vita spokesperson Mozahedul Islam Mehdi that BSTI was not capable of checking antibiotics in milk, he told Al Jazeera: But that is the only standardisation body in the country.

    That last quote set in eejit quotes because, whilst it may be pedantically true BSTI is Bangladesh’s only standardisation body, it spectacularly misses the point. As Al Jazeera continues:

    Meanwhile, with milk being a basic component of food in households, it is the consumers who remain potentially vulnerable.

    […]

  256. says

    SC @381, thanks for at the additional information on Amash. That adds some perspective.

    blf @383, anything they can do to treat asylum seekers unfairly … seems to be an almost worldwide eruption of evil doings.

    SC @392, does Cadwalladr have a site where money is being raised to pay her legal expenses?

    SC @393, Malcom Nance recently made the point on AM Joy that rightwing conservatives really want a fight, a war, or at least extreme disruption.
    https://crooksandliars.com/2019/07/malcolm-nance-issues-blistering-warning

    NANCE: Yes, I hate to have to whip out my credentials. That book which I wrote a year ago is mainly about Putin’s purchasing and restructuring all of right wing Europe into vassal states that supports Russia. We are now seeing evidence coming out, they had an audio recording and events secretly taking Russian’s money and Russian positions. He actually said in the recording that “Europe needs to align with Russia for their own protection and sovereignty”. These people are not playing games. It is an axis of autocracy.

    Jason Johnson, this whole thing of hydra from “Captain America,” it is real. These people are a multi-headed political body throughout Europe that are working with the Trump administration extremely closely. One last thing, Joy, we are about to undergo a structural fracturing in the United States and everybody at MSNBC has this discussion about these thing in the context of politics, these people are not looking at this in the context of politics.

    When I was at Auschwitz, I sat down with woman from Rwanda and a young man from Cambodia and a survivor from Auschwitz, and they see the same structural failures happening in the United States, that he keep on asking me “what is our malfunction.” We need to correct this quickly. If this election coming up in 2020 fails, it may fail for the last time.

  257. says

    More details concerning Trump’s determination to deport immigrants, including U.S. military families, (and Trump’s inability to answer a question about the inclusion of military families):

    […] At issue were U.S. military families and the prospect of deportations.

    This was the exchange after the president was asked if he’d provide any assurances to servicemembers’ families:

    TRUMP: So nobody has treated the military better than President Trump. Nobody. Nobody has even come close. And you see that with budgets, you see that with the pay increases, and you see that with medical. But you know where you see it more than any place is with the vets. Because the vets now have Choice. They never had Choice before. For forty–

    Q: But can you guarantee that their loved ones won’t be deported?

    TRUMP: Wait. Wait. Wait. For 44 years —

    Q: Can you guarantee that their loved ones won’t be deported?

    TRUMP: Wait. Wait. For 44 years – we are looking at that. For 44 years, they’ve tried to get Veterans Choice. I got it. Nobody else could’ve gotten it.

    At that point, the president changed the subject.

    There are, of course, two rather obvious problems with Trump’s response. The first is that he clumsily dodged the question: asked about possible deportations of servicemembers’ loved ones, the president bragged about a VA program. Veterans Choice is not irrelevant as a policy matter, but there was an obvious disconnect between the question and the answer – which reinforced fears that servicemembers’ loved ones may very well be deported.

    The second problem is that Trump has lied for months about his role in securing the policy. As fact-checkers have repeatedly explained, the president may have convinced himself that “nobody else” could’ve secured passage of Veterans Choice, but in reality, the policy was approved in 2014 – when it was signed by Barack Obama.

    In effect, Trump argued, “I want so much credit for Obama’s success that I deserve a pass on deporting servicemembers’ spouses and breaking up their families.”

    It’s gibberish.

    Postscript: The possibility of these deportations is not an academic exercise. In some instances, it’s actually happened.

    Maddow Blog link

  258. says

    Lynna:

    SC @392, does Cadwalladr have a site where money is being raised to pay her legal expenses?

    Not yet, as far as I’ve seen. A number of people have asked on Twitter, but I haven’t seen her point anyone to a site. I had assumed the Guardian was paying, but they might not be. If she links to anything, I’ll share it here.

  259. says

    Lies from Trump, lies from rightwing media, lies from Wilbur Ross, lies from Trump administration lawyers … lies and conspiracy theories abound when it comes to the issue of citizenship questions on the census.

    […] “The real controversy here is who took the citizenship question off of the census, and why?” Limbaugh said. “Why is it controversy wanting to know who among us happens to be a citizen and who isn’t? Why is that controversial? It would seem to me that this kind of attention should have been asked when somebody in the Obama regime decided to get rid of it.”

    This came the same week Kellyanne Conway, a prominent White House aide and Trump loyalty, also appeared on “Fox & Friends” and said, “Why can’t we just ask the question the way it was asked for 50 years before the Obama administration yanked it out of there?”

    [From the Associated Press:] The Obama administration did not pull the citizenship question from the census after 50 years. The Census Bureau hasn’t included a citizenship question in its once-a-decade survey sent to all U.S. households since 1950.

    From 1970 to 2000, the question was included only in the long-form section of the census survey, which is sent to a portion of U.S. households. After 2000, the question has been asked each year since 2005 on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, a separate poll also sent to a sample of U.S. households.

    The Census Bureau made the switch to that survey in 2005 as a replacement to the long-form supplement, prior to the Obama administration. As a result of that switch, no long form was sent as part of the next-held census in 2010, when Obama was in office. Instead, the citizenship question was asked as part of the 2010 ACS survey.

    Last year, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to get the ball rolling on this, blaming Barack Obama and his team for having removed a citizenship question from the 2010 census. […]

    Link

    When do you think the doofuses peddling the lies will correct themselves … publicly?

  260. says

    Trump tries (and fails) to brag about China’s economic troubles.

    [Trump boasted this morning] that his tariffs are “having a major effect on companies wanting to leave China for non-tariffed countries.” Trump added, that the United States is “receiving Billions of Dollars in Tariffs from China, with possibly much more to come. These Tariffs are paid for by China devaluing & pumping, not by the U.S. taxpayer!”

    The second part of this boast is outrageously false and evidence that Trump is still hopelessly confused about his own trade policy in any meaningful way. […]

    But the first part of his tweet is far less ridiculous. The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that there are shifts underway in Asia-Pacific manufacturing.

    U.S. manufacturers are shifting production to countries outside of China as trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies stretch into a second year. […]

    The biggest beneficiaries of that decline have been other countries in Asia where production costs are low, such as Vietnam, India, Taiwan and Malaysia. […]

    There is little evidence, though, of U.S. manufacturers bringing production from China back to the U.S., a move the Trump administration hoped the tariffs would encourage.

    And that’s what makes Trump’s boasts so odd.

    According to the White House, the point of the president’s trade agenda – or one of them, anyway – is to encourage manufacturers to bring their production work back to American soil. Trump talks about this all the time: companies that want to avoid tariffs can simply make their products in the United States. […]

    the evidence shows Trump isn’t generating the intended results. U.S. manufacturers are shifting production away from China, but they’re not bringing their businesses here.

    So what exactly is the American president bragging about? Is he confused about his own goals again?

    In early June, Trump told reporters, “A lot of people, senators included, they have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to tariffs. They have no – absolutely no idea.”

    It was among his more obvious failures of self-awareness.

    Link

  261. says

    Wilbur Ross is trying a different tactic. Having failed to get a citizenship question on the census, Ross is still very much interested in using citizenship data to help Republicans rig election results through redistricting.

    Feds Producing Data For States To Do Anti-Immigrant Redistricting Overhaul

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has directed the Census Bureau to prepare to offer states the data they’d need to do a redistricting overhaul that would boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites,” in the words of a deceased GOP consultant. […]

    “Accordingly, the Secretary has directed the Census Bureau to proceed with the 2020 Census without a citizenship question on the questionnaire, and rather to produce Citizenship Voting Age Population (CVAP) information prior to April 1, 2021 that states may use in redistricting” the new version of the notice said. […]

    Trump last week signed an executive order directing the Commerce Department to compile citizenship data using existing records held by various agencies. The Bureau, however, was already working on such a compilation in response to Ross’ March 2018 decision to try to include a citizenship question on the census. The government has also previously indicated that it was considering offering citizenship data to states for redistricting. […]

    the stage is already being set for the next court battle.

    The Trump administration is preparing to help red states undertake a GOP-friendly overhaul of redistricting.

    The idea would be for states and local jurisdictions to draw districts in a way that would exclude noncitizens from the count (using data known as Citizenship Voting Age Population or “CVAP”). […]

    Another analysis released publicly around the same time, by a City University of New York-Queens professor, said that using CVAP would change legislative maps in a way that would “substantially favor increasing the number of Republican-dominated districts.” […]

    The Supreme Court said in a 2016 unanimous opinion in the case, Evenwel v. Abbott, that use of total population was permissible. But the opinion didn’t address the question of whether CVAP could also be used. Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurrence that states should have the choice to use such a metric, while Justice Samuel Alito issued a concurrence of his own calling for another legal case to resolve this “important and sensitive”question. [Thomas and Alito!]

    […] If the Census Bureau does give the states data on citizenship for redistricting, the next step would be for a state or a local jurisdiction to then draw its districts using CVAP rather than total population. Such a move would almost certainly invite a legal challenge.

    Some states have also already considered legislation that would let them exclude noncitizens from redistricting come 2021.

  262. says

    Jaime Harrison, who’s challenging Lindsey Graham’s seat:

    If today’s news tells us anything, it’s time for fresh leadership here in South Carolina.

    With your help, we can DEFEAT Lindsey Graham and fight for working people here in S.C. and across the country.
    #SendLindseyHome

    AOC:

    I see @LindseyGrahamSC’s biggest issue w/ Trump’s racism is that it doesn’t go far enough – Graham wants to bring back 1950s McCarthyism, too.

    GOP is doing this because they have no plan for our future.

    We’re the ones fighting for healthcare, edu, good jobs, & they got nothing.

  263. says

    Followup to comment 404.

    From the readers comments:

    As if the gerrymandering wasn’t extreme enough already.
    ———————
    Pure coincidence of course that SCOTUS has refused to dirty its fingers by interfering in the redistricting process. Every day our democratic republican form of government is under attack. Let’s hope there are a few honest jurists left in our system who will put a stop to this chicanery.
    ——————–
    the Democratic House should use its Article I, §4 power to “at any time by law make or alter such [state] regulations” and introduce legislation to mandate that states use total population. [Mitch McConnell would refuse to bring such a bill to the Senate floor for a vote.]
    ——————–
    I wonder how much more the right to vote will be curtailed before we get the biggest danger to the United States out of office.
    —————–
    Census information is used for a lot more than redistricting; it is also used to apply for grant and Federal funds for many, many projects. Are states, counties and cities going to cherry pick by using the doctored data for redistricting and the accurate demographic information to apply for federal grants and aid? Yeah, that seems fair…NOT.
    ———————
    When the Honorable Dread Justice Roberts says that gerrymandering and voter protection issues should be handled by the several states, this is exactly the kind of “handling” that he has in mind.

  264. says

    Nancy Pelosi announced a resolution, supported by Democratic members born abroad, to condemn Trump’s racist tweets aimed at four congresswomen of color.

    “This weekend, the President went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language about Members of Congress. Let me be clear, our Caucus will continue to forcefully respond to these disgusting attacks.”

    “The House cannot allow the President’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand.”

    Not sure what else she could do. At least she is not remaining silent, as most Republicans are (except Lindsey Graham, who supports Trump’s racism).

  265. says

    From the liveblog:

    The candidates are asked how the Good Friday Agreement can be respected in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

    Johnson refers to a “spirit of optimism” and repeats his claims that the border discussions should be part of the free trade agreement negotiations.

    Hunt says there cannot be a hard border and that the technology exists to avoid one. But, he acknowledges, such measures are not going to be ready in time for Brexit, meaning there will be a gap.

    Johnson reiterates his claim that the border question can and should be answered during free trade negotiations – not as part of the withdrawal agreement.

    However, Channel 4 News’ FactCheck quotes the European Commission’s spokesperson as saying that “it is possible to rework the Political Declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship, but the Withdrawal Agreement [the deal struck by Theresa May] is not open for renegotiation”.

    In other words, Johnson is claiming the EU will agree to do something it has explicitly and repeatedly said on the record it has no intention of doing.

  266. says

    More from the debate liveblog:

    Johnson is asked whether or not he’ll stand up to Donald Trump and asked about the Sir Kim Darroch case.

    Johnson repeats his line that he was sad to see Darroch resign and, after having influenced that decision by publicly and repeatedly refusing to explicitly back him, he claims he now does support the UK’s outgoing envoy.

    Tory leadership candidates refuse to call Trump’s comments racist

    The candidates are asked if they back Theresa May’s criticism of Donald Trump. The US president used racist language to attack Democratic congresswomen at the weekend.

    Hunt says he does and says he would be furious if someone spoke about his children in such terms.

    Johnson says relations between the two nations are important but that the US president “simply cannot” use such language. He repeatedly refuses to say explicitly whether or not he considers the remarks racist.

    Hunt says that, as foreign secretary, it wouldn’t be helpful to use that term in reference to the US president.

  267. says

    Brian Stelter – “How news outlets are dealing with the ‘moral dimension’ of covering Trump and his racist tweets”:

    President Trump launched a bigoted attack against four minority congresswomen on Sunday morning. His tweets were straight up racist. Did the news media accurately describe it that way?

    By and large, no, most major news outlets did not do that. Reporters and anchors took the story seriously but largely leaned on “critics,” primarily Democrats, and cited their accusations of racism. The significance of Trump’s words risked being lost in a partisan fog.

    He said/she said is a tried and true journalistic technique, of course, but it is insufficient at a time like this. If telling Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” isn’t racist, what is?

    There were some exceptions — CNN chief among the news outlets — that called out this example of racism emanating from the highest office in the land in an authoritative, institutional voice. CNN’s banners and headlines said “racist rant” and “racist attacks.”

    NYT TV critic James Poniezowik crystallized what I’ve been thinking all day. “A real problem is that politics in Trump’s era has taken on a moral dimension that news outlets either aren’t equipped to cover, or think it’s their duty to avoid,” he tweeted. “And if they avoid it, they avoid their job, which is to accurately represent to their audience what’s happening.”

    So let’s size up how the nation’s most-read, most-watched news outlets handled the tweets. As I mentioned, CNN identified the tweets as racist throughout the day. Some MSNBC programs did, too. On Fox News, so far as I can tell, the word was only used by guests or attributed to critics.
    The big three nightly newscasts used the “critics” crutch as well….

    Much more at the link.

  268. says

    F.O. @ #413,

    FWIW, David Corn was on AM Joy on Saturday, and in a long discussion of these allegations he said that he and other journalists investigated that particular claim very thoroughly and that he doesn’t believe it’s true.

  269. says

    More:

    Both candidates commit to making a woman either chancellor, foreign secretary or defence secretary. Johnson did so after some hesitation, saying: “Yes, I think so. Well, I dunno. I’ve chucked it out there a – make of it what you will.”

  270. blf says

    SC@414, At the present time, The Grauniad’s headlines, Go back home: Trump aims racist attack at Ocasio-Cortez and other congresswomen, and You can leave: Trump unrepentant over racist attack on congresswomen, flat-out says the comments are racist in the titles, and in stories.

    So does Al Jazeera now, US House to vote on resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets, but their earlier story’s headline let the critics observe the racism, ‘Disgusting, racist’: Trump slammed for attack on congresswomen (albeit the story itself isn’t wishy-washy).

    France24, however, was very States-media-like, with a mild headline, Trump tells Democratic congresswomen to go back to where they came from for a story where only the critics observed the racism in eejit-said / they-said wishy-washy manner.

  271. says

    SC @409:

    Lynna @ #407, is that the same as a formal censure?

    I don’t know for sure. Sometimes the terminology trips me up. I do know that “censure” is public.

    But this “resolution” Pelosi is backing is also public.

    There might be a difference between a “resolution to condemn” and “formal censure” in that one may require a vote in the Senate and one may not. I’m not sure. I haven’t figured this out yet.

  272. says

    Well that’s typical.

    Trump Demands Apology From Democratic Congresswomen He Attacked in Racist Diatribe

    When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!

    If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.

    From Kamala Harris:

    It is absolutely racist and un-American. And it is an old trope, go back to where you came from that, you know, you might hear it on the street but you should never hear that from the President of the United States.

  273. blf says

    Continuing @418, the Irish Times is (surprisingly, and also quite disappointingly) even worse than France24, with Trump tells female Democrats to go back to crime-infested places they came from for a story that (almost completely) failed to use “racist”, and never, even in a quote, called hair furor’s tweets that (or anything stronger than “presidential trolling”).

    They are a bit better with the more recent article, Donald Trump renews attack on leftwing congresswomen, but its still a damp squib (“inflammatory comments” and “provocative tweets”), albeit they at least now do report others call the bellowing racist.

  274. says

    From Elizabeth Warren:

    Let’s be clear about what this vile comment is: A racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen. This *is* their country, regardless of whether or not Trump realizes it. They should be treated with respect. As president, I’ll make sure of it.

    From Bill de Blasio:

    Trump is obsessed with trying to make American HATE again.

    From Bernie Sanders:

    When I call the president a racist, this is what I’m talking about.

  275. blf says

    Does it strike anyone else that hair furor’s racist tweetering storms seem much more grammatical than his norm?

  276. blf says

    Charlottesville white supremacist gets second life sentence, plus 419 years:

    […]
    James Alex Fields Jr, 22, was sentenced on Monday to life plus 419 years for killing one person and injuring dozens during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on 12 August 2017.

    Judge Richard Moore formally imposed the sentence recommended by a Virginia jury that convicted Fields in December.

    “Mr Fields, you had choices. We all have choices,” Moore said. “You made the wrong ones and you caused great harm … You caused harm around the globe when people saw what you did.”

    Fields […] was sentenced last month to life in prison on 29 federal hate crime charges. The state sentence is mainly symbolic since he has already received a life sentence on federal charges.

    […]

  277. blf says

    Twitter won’t hide Donald Trump’s racist tweets:

    […]
    Twitter won’t be treating President [sic] Donald Trump’s recent tweets telling congresswomen to go back to their supposed home countries as a violation of its hateful conduct policy, the company confirmed to The Verge. That means the tweets won’t trigger a flagging system Twitter announced last month, intended to limit the reach of banned content by public officials.

    […]

    Gizmodo noted earlier today that Twitter’s hateful conduct policy bans “targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.” If Twitter had concluded that Trump violated this rule, it would theoretically have to hide the tweets behind a gray box that warned users about their content. That’s Twitter’s alternative to removing tweets that are a “matter of public interest” yet violate its rules.

    It’s hard to tell where Twitter’s actual bar for “hateful conduct” sits, though, because content is moderated by large numbers of people who interpret the rules in different ways […]. Also, Twitter in particular has a convoluted stance on racist content. You apparently can’t be a self-professed Nazi, but Twitter has said it’s talking with experts to figure out its more general rules around white supremacy.

    […]

    From the Gizmodo article, Trump’s Racist Tweets Aren’t Racist, Twitter Decides (link embedded in above excerpt):

    […]
    Twitter declined to comment on the record about its decision, pointing instead to its policy of adding a “notice” to any “public interest” tweet that violates its rules. The company confirmed that nothing has changed in the past month and that such notices will be issued when deemed appropriate. The implication here is clear: Twitter does not view Trump’s tweets Sunday as a violation of its hateful conduct policy.

    […] Twitter is one of the only major social networks not to ban explicitly white supremacist content. […]

    Brandi Collins-Dexter, a senior campaign director at Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, told Gizmodo that Twitter has time and again put revenue and notoriety ahead of public safety. “For years, people of color and women, particularly Black women, have been the victims of coordinated and vicious campaigns of abuse on Twitter,” she said.

    “Trump’s consistent targeting and abuse of women of color in Congress is not only vulgar, reckless, and shameful — it’s flat out dangerous,” she added. “Twitter choosing not even to label his content what it is, is just more proof they can’t be serious about fixing a problem of their own making.”

    […] Henry Fernandez, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and member of Change the Terms, a national coalition working to better social media policies to address hate, sent Gizmodo the follow statement:

    Trump’s telling four elected Members of Congress to go back to their own countries is 1960s Birmingham Bull Connor racist. If this did not merit even a warning under Twitter’s new ‘Trump disclaimer’ rule then the rule is meaningless. Twitter is enabling Trump’s racism and has become his racist megaphone.

  278. says

    tomh @ #420:

    The only worthwhile “formal” thing, will be a formal impeachment inquiry.

    I think a targeted formal censure of these statements would be worthwhile aside from an impeachment inquiry (which I think should have already been opened).

    blf @ #418, thanks for the other examples.

  279. tomh says

    Interestingly, Trump can’t even insult anymore without notes.
    From WaPo:

    Trump’s prepared notes: Democrats he criticized are ‘DANGEROUS’ and may ‘hate America’
    By Philip Bump
    July 15 at 5:01 PM

    As is so often the case at the White House, reporters attending an event focused on American manufacturing preferred to ask President Trump about a somewhat different subject. With controversy swirling around Trump after he suggested that progressive Democrats critical of him should “go back” to where they came from — a phrase with a fraught history — reporters pressed the president on what he meant and who he was targeting.

    Somewhat unusually, though, Trump was ready. As The Washington Post’s David Nakamura pointed out, as Trump transitioned to take press questions, he pulled notes from his pocket and glanced at them occasionally as he spoke.

    Post photographer Jabin Botsford was there and took photos of Trump as he transferred the notes into and out of his jacket pocket. In doing so, Botsford captured much of what the notes contained: reminders to the president of points he wanted to hit.

    We’ve re-created those notes below. All typos are in the original, and all underlining is original. Obscured words are indicated with a [?].

    What the notes said
    At the top, handwritten:

    Alcaida

    Some people

    Typed:

    This is greatest country in the world
    In the case of Ohmar — we saved her from a dangerous situation in Somalia.
    She came here at 10 years old and is now a Congresswoman. That could ONLY happen in America.
    It’s so SAD that these women have a record of saying anti-Semitic and anti-American things all the time.
    It’s actually DANGEROUS — because it seems like they hate America.
    My point was if you are not happy here, you can leave. Handwritten: HOLLYWOOD [?]
    They want America to be SOCIALIST and th[?][?] happen.
    EVERY time we talk about low unemployment [?] people — they say Racism.
    Now the even call Nancy Pelosi a [?]
    The notes, explained
    Trump’s notes begin with those handwritten words, “Alcaida” and “some people.” They appear to be written in Trump’s handwriting.

    These appear to be references to two comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that gained traction in the conservative media. “Alcaida” is probably a phonetic spelling of “al-Qaeda,” referring to comments Omar made about how a college professor said the name of the terrorist group with a certain added emphasis in order, she argued, to make it seem more menacing. “Some people” refers to comments Omar made at a fundraising event in which she said, of the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, that because “some people did something .?.?. all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” This comment was the focus of an infamous tweet from Trump in which he juxtaposed Omar with images of the World Trade Center burning in 2001.

    We know Trump was referring to these incidents because he mentioned both in his remarks.

    “When I hear people speaking about how wonderful al-Qaeda is,” he said, “when I hear people talking about ‘some people’ — ‘some people’ with the World Trade Center — ‘some people’ — no, not ‘some people.’ Much more than ‘some people.’ ”

    The typewritten notes focus on Omar. “We” — the United States, presumably — saved Omar from a “dangerous situation” in Somalia, a reference to her immigrating to the United States as a child refugee. (The Omar family didn’t come directly from Somalia but instead via Kenya.)

    The notes then expand to include the other Democrats who were apparently the focus of his tweets, a group that he called “this group of four people” in his comments. Along with Omar, Trump was referring to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

    “These women have a record of saying anti-Semitic and anti-American things all the time,” the notes read, though that’s obviously untrue. On Monday, we compared their comments with Trump’s comments about the United States. While the group advocates progressive policies that Trump and his supporters may think run in opposition to their idealized America, there aren’t clear examples of their disparaging the country.

    You can see that further on in Trump’s notes, when he claims that the women want America to be “SOCIALIST” — an example, it seems, of where he thinks they are “anti-American.” Recent polling from Gallup found that 43 percent of Americans think some form of socialism in the United States would be a “good thing.” Republicans, though, are much more hostile to the concept.

    Trump’s prepared rhetoric went further, though, declaring it “DANGEROUS” that the Democrats may “hate America.” This mirrors comments made last week by Tucker Carlson of Fox News, focusing on Omar and highlighting criticism, which she had offered at an event, of racial disparities in the United States.

    This is notably a stronger claim than saying the women make “anti-American” remarks, which, again, is itself unfounded.

    During his comments, Trump repeatedly insisted that the suggestion in his tweet that the women “go back” to where they came from — a baffling suggestion since three were born in the United States — was simply a sort of updated “love it or leave it” line. It wasn’t, of course; it was intentionally if indirectly disparaging Somalia in particular. This is not the first time he has offered negative opinions of an African country.

    (It’s not clear what the handwritten “Hollywood” note means. Trump didn’t mention Hollywood in his remarks.)

    At the bottom of his notes, Trump has a response to the use of “racist” to describe his tweets. He appears to note that every time he mentions low black unemployment, the response is that he’s racist. (This is not something I have observed.) He also has a note about how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had been described as racist by the four Democrats — a distorted claim referring to a comment Ocasio-Cortez made about feeling disrespected by Pelosi.

    What’s remarkable about the notes, above all else, is that they are littered with untrue or misleading claims about Omar and what the women have said. The notes, in essence, prepared the president to respond to criticism about his disparagement of the women by offering exaggerated claims about what they had said and done.

    It’s also remarkable that, for all of his practice in disparaging his opponents, he needed a crib sheet to do so Monday.

  280. says

    CNN – “Exclusive: Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling”:

    New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

    The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.

    The surveillance reports also describe how Assange turned the embassy into a command center and orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States.

    Despite being confined to the embassy while seeking safe passage to Ecuador, Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments, frequently for hours at a time. He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives.

    These stunning details come from hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN. They chronicle Assange’s movements and provide an unprecedented window into his life at the embassy. They also add a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the US election.

    An Ecuadorian intelligence official told CNN that the surveillance reports are authentic.

    The security logs noted that Assange personally managed some of the releases “directly from the embassy” where he lived for nearly seven years. After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange’s allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was “no doubt that there is evidence” that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

    Though confined to a few rooms inside the embassy, Assange was able to wield enormous authority over his situation. From the outset he demanded (and was granted) high-speed internet connectivity, phone service and regular access to professional visitors and personal guests. This arrangement enabled him to keep WikiLeaks active, the documents said.

    Assange also issued a special list of people who were able to enter the embassy without showing identification or being searched by security. He was even granted the power to delete names from the visitor logs. To avoid surveillance cameras, Assange occasionally met guests inside the women’s bathroom, according to the security reports.

    This all leaves open the possibility that additional sensitive meetings took place but are still secret.
    Quickly, the once-mundane diplomatic mission in the heart of London became a hotbed of tension and suspicion. Throughout Assange’s stay at the embassy, Ecuador employed three security companies to conduct constant surveillance. Assange installed his own recording devices and used noise machines to stymie the snooping, according to the documents obtained by CNN.

    The task of controlling Assange proved difficult. Fistfights broke out between Assange and the guards. He smeared feces on the walls out of anger.

    Assange also maintained direct contact with senior officials in Ecuador, including former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, and regularly used those connections to threaten embassy staff, according to the surveillance documents and two Ecuadorian government sources who spoke to CNN. He claimed he could get people fired, even the sitting ambassador.

    Assange’s authority appeared at times to rival that of the ambassador….

    By June, Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had emerged as the de facto nominees of their parties and were gearing up for what would be a bruising general election. The campaign took a historic turn on June 14, when the Democratic National Committee announced that it had been hacked and blamed Russia — which Trump dismissed as a farce.

    Assange was busy back at the embassy. That month, members of the security team worked overtime to handle at least 75 visits to Assange, nearly double the monthly average of visits logged by the security company that year. He met Russian citizens and a hacker later flagged in the Mueller report as a potential courier for emails stolen from the Democrats.

    Assange took at least seven meetings that month with Russians and others with Kremlin ties, according to the visitor logs.

    Two encounters were with a Russian national named Yana Maximova, who could not be reached for comment. Almost nothing is known about Maximova, making it difficult to discern why she visited the embassy at key moments in June 2016. During her two visits that month, she met with Assange in the middle of the day in the embassy’s conference room.

    Assange also had five meetings that month with senior staffers from RT, the Kremlin-controlled news organization.

    US intelligence agencies have concluded that RT had “actively collaborated with WikiLeaks” in the past and played a significant role in Russia’s effort to influence the 2016 election and help Trump win. For several months in 2012, Assange hosted a television show on RT.

    In June 2016, RT’s London bureau chief, Nikolay Bogachikhin, visited Assange twice, and gave him a USB drive on one occasion, according to the surveillance reports. That five-minute visit was hastily arranged and required last-minute approval from the Ecuadorian ambassador….

    Much, much more at the link. They’ll have more in a few miutes on CNN (Anderson Cooper).

  281. says

    Just stunning to me that he lists hatred of Israel before the US as if it is more important. He’s the President of the US for f-cks sake. Repeated conflation of US Israel totally nuts. His world view is so f-ing wacked that it is clear he is a danger to us and the whole world.”

  282. says

    blf @424:

    Does it strike anyone else that hair furor’s racist tweetering storms seem much more grammatical than his norm?

    Yes. Definitely. At least parts of those tweets look like they were written by Stephen Miller.

  283. says

    Darren Samuelsohn: “Good morning from DC district court where Roger Stone is set to have a 10 am status hearing, the first since federal prosecutors earlier this spring alleged that Stone is in violation of a gag order restricting his speech about his case. I’ll be live tweeting the proceedings.”

  284. says

    David Rothkopf:

    It’s the racism. But it’s not just the racism. It’s sex crimes. But it’s not just the sex crimes. It’s the concentration camps. But it’s not just the concentration camps. It’s the corruption. But it’s not just the corruption.

    It’s being a traitor. But it’s not just being a traitor. It’s the obstruction of justice but its not just the obstruction of justice. It’s the attacks on rule of law. But it’s not just the attacks on the rule of law. It’s the assault on freedom of the press.

    But it’s not just the assault on freedom of the press. It’s the pathological lying. But it’s not just the pathological lying. It’s the unfitness for office. But it’s not just the unfitness for office. It’s the incompetence. But it’s not just the incompetence.

    It’s the attacks on our most important allies and alliances. But it’s not just the attacks on most important allies and alliances. It’s the systematic destruction of our environment. But it’s not just the systematic destruction of our environment.

    It’s the violation of international treaties and agreements. But it is not just the violation of international treaties and agreements. It’s the embrace of our enemies. But it is not just the embrace of our enemies.
    It’s the defense of murdering dictators but it is not just the defense of murdering dictators. It is the serial undermining of our national security. But it is not just the serial undermining of our national security. It is the nepotism. But it’s not just the nepotism.

    It’s the attacks on our federal law enforcement and intelligence communities. But it is not just the attacks on our federal law enforcement and intelligence communities. It’s the fiscal recklessness. But it’s not just the fiscal recklessness.

    It’s the degradation of the office and of public discourse in America. But it’s not just the degradation of the office and of public discourse in America. It’s the support of Nazis and white supremacists. But it’s not just the support of Nazis and white supremacists.

    It’s the dead in Puerto Rico and the at the border. But it’s not just the dead in Puerto Rico and at the border. It’s turning the US government into a criminal conspiracy to empower and enrich the president and his supporters.

    But it’s not just the turning the US government into a criminal conspiracy to empower and enrich the president and his supporters. It’s weaponization of politics in America to attack the weak. But it’s not just the weaponization of American politics to attack the weak.

    It’s all these things together and the threat of worse to come. It is the damage that can not be undone. It is pathology that has overtaken our politics and our society, the revelation that 40 percent of the population and an entire political party are profoundly immoral.

    It is a disease that has infected our system and is killing it. At the moment, we still have the wherewithal to fight back. But even those who recognize the dangers of this litany of crimes are proving too complacent, too inert in the face of this threat.

    It is one of those moments in the history of a country when there is a choice to be made, a choice between having a future and not, between growth and decay, between democracy and oligarchy, between what we dreamt of being and what even our founders feared we might become.

    The litany of crises and crimes is so long that we are becoming numb. You have heard of the fog of war. This is the fog of Trump. The volume of wrongs becomes its own defense. Is the president accused of being a rapist? Well, then remind them he is a racist and they’ll forget.

    This is a moment for leaders to step up. To challenge each of these abuses via every legal means available. To organize and draw attention to them. To blow the whistle if you are in government and you are being asked to violate your oath. To resist and refuse to be complicit.

    If you can’t do those things that make your voice heard and join a movement, support a political candidate, donate money, register voters, fight voter suppression. But whatever you do, resist becoming numb. Resist the temptation to let the recitation of old crimes and new…

    …become a deadening drone. Every one matters in times like these. Every one must stand up for what is right. In their homes. In their schools. In the workplace. In their churches and synagogues and mosques.
    We are approaching a great national decision about whether the American experiment will succeed or fail, whether this moment does what two world wars, a civil war and countless past misjudgments and missteps could not.

    We will make it together, resist, offer a better alternative, embrace that alternative and the best leaders we can find…or succumb, let the inertia of some among us mark the end of what for two and half centuries was an idea so compelling it inspired the world.