[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Special counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly planning to deliver his report in the Russia counterintelligence investigation as soon as next week and then just as quickly, he wasn't. But as pundits pondered the notion that this might really be it, they were befuddled, perplexed, and even anxious at the prospect of the special counsel delivering anything so definitive with so many strands related to Donald Trump's inner circle still in a tangle of mystery. Those strands include everything from the very central indictment of Trump confidant Roger Stone for lying about his interactions with Russians to Don Jr.'s unforgettable Trump Tower confab with a Russian delegation to the more distant indictment of Paul Erickson, a conservative political operative and boyfriend of the also-indicted Russian spy Maria Butina. 

This week's rigorous speculation centered both on what findings would be included in Mueller's report and how much of that report would ultimately be relayed to Congress and made public by Trump's newly installed attorney general, William Barr. If I were a betting woman, I'd guess that Mueller's final determination will certainly lay out impeachable offenses, including an airtight case for obstruction of justice, while perhaps leaving some of the criminal conspiracy threads for another day under another prosecutor. But exactly how much of Mueller's report will ultimately reach lawmakers and the public will be a test of the man now charged with wide discretion over disseminating Mueller's revelations. 

Whatever Barr may have done or said to obtain the position he now holds doesn't exactly indicate what he's likely to do. As Lyndon Johnson biographer Robert Caro has observed, the notion that absolute power corrupts absolutely is actually an overhyped axiom. "Power doesn't always corrupt," he offered, after years of studying Johnson. "What I believe is always true about power is that power always reveals. When you have enough power to do what you always wanted to do, then you see what the guy always wanted to do." President Johnson, of course, managed to enact some of the most pivotal civil rights laws of the 20th century after having a pretty abysmal voting record on civil rights legislation as a U.S. Senator.

What Attorney General Barr really wants to do with the position he auditioned for with Trump remains to be seen. But Democrats are already girding for battle if necessary.

(no subject)

Feb. 23rd, 2019 07:59 pm
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[personal profile] pengolodh_sc
Computer surgery completed.

The system drive (an Intel 530 SSD, 1 month past its warranty) was giving "S.M.A.R.T. status bad" warnings, so now it's replaced by a Samsung EVO 860. As a bonus, it seems that Windows Update now works for me again, too - it had stopped working some while ago (35 upgrades, to the tune of 737 MB...).

(no subject)

Feb. 23rd, 2019 06:59 pm
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[personal profile] versaphile
iamthecutestofborg: Shout out to all the Systems and former Systems out there, from a grateful ally. I’ve learned a lot recently from Systems on Tumblr and YouTube, and I’m so grateful to be educated and equipped with the knowledge I can use to help end stigma and support Systems. Thank you all for educating me, especially The Entropy System @theentropywe @survivormind whom I have become a big fan of on YouTube. You are all so brave and so valid. Have a great System Pride Day!!!
from Tumblr: https://versaphile.tumblr.com/post/183005617817/shout-out-to-all-the-systems-and-former-systems
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[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

If you’re facing Saturday morning bleary-eyed and with an increased need for caffeine, you may be one of many who stayed up Friday evening to dive into the final sentencing documents for Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. That document, which was due at the courthouse before midnight, was expected to provide serious insight into the state of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Would it finally detail the interactions between not just Manafort and his Russian contact Konstantin Kilimnik, but show who else was aware of his actions back at the Trump campaign? Would it, as some rumors had indicated, including information “devastating” to Trump? Or would it still be heavily slathered with the black-bars-of-retraction, indicating that there were still a Payless of shoes waiting to drop?

As it turns out, the answer was … who knows? Because no court documents hit the public record overnight. The midnight groan of ten thousand reporters constantly conducting a simultaneous scan of court databases and Twitter was loud enough to rattle windows. But it’s unlikely that Mueller’s team stood up a federal judge.

In previous instances where a document was expected, but failed to appear, the issue was simply this — the document contained too much information. That is, the document contained information that the special counsel’s office or other interested parties felt could impact other cases, including potential cases not yet under indictment.

In those situations, the document was filed. It was just filed under seal. So it’s entirely likely that Judge Amy Berman Jackson, fresh off smacking Roger Stone on the nose, is sipping her coffee in a much more composed state than the rest of us, scanning carefully through the documents Mueller has provided. But those documents are unlikely to hit the public record until everyone is in agreement about just how much of them still needs to be under a double coat of Sharpie. 

There’s a chance these redactions could be simply limited to another brewing case around Manafort, as multiple sources have indicated potential charges being prepared by New York state. But in case there’s any doubt — redactions at this point are not happy news for Donald Trump, or for anyone else involved in the the campaign.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

If you thought Donald Trump’s obsession with personal loyalty and secrecy was just about FBI directors and payoffs to porn stars, think again. Trump’s unprecedented use of non-disclosure agreements for White House staff extends all the way down to interns, Asawin Suebsaeng reports. 

Interns aren’t just warned about leaking; they’re faced with someone from the White House counsel’s office “warning them that a breach of the NDA—blabbing to the media, for instance—could result in legal, and thus financial, consequences for them.” Since senior White House staffers have been told to sign NDAs with $10 million penalties for violations, this threat to interns is potentially terrifying. The Trump White House labels these threats as “ethics training,” despite Trump’s own wholesale rejection of the very notion of ethics.

As one former Obama administration official put it, while working in the White House requires discretion at all times, “this White House’s approach to non-disclosure agreements, even for interns, seems to suggest that guarding against criticism of the president and his family—what most of us would consider to be protected speech—is just as important as safeguarding the sensitive information the American public entrusts to the government.”

The good news is that White House NDAs are likely unenforceable. In fact, one ethics expert says, Trump officials could face serious penalties for trying to prevent any employee from talking to Congress about what they witnessed in the White House. But even an unenforceable intimidation tactic can work to intimidate, particularly when wielded against vulnerable interns. That’s the Trump way, though: bully, intimidate, and lie about your leverage over people. And since the other Trump way is to hire only multimillionaires and billionaires, $10 million may not sound like that much of a threat to these interns anyway.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

This weekend on “In Search of …” we’re not after the elusive Bigfoot, diving down to find the Loch Ness Monster, or scanning for the lost site of King Solomon’s Mines. Instead we’re in search of something that can kick off even more keen debate … the appropriate acronym.

Behold! It’s almost like branding. But it’t not quite right.

As you might have noticed, several of the weekend slots have been playing host to regular installments on science (ahem … You Are Here), green news, and space. Coming up later today, Meteor Blades is kicking off what will be a regular column on the topic of the image above—addressing the challenges of transportation. Many of these subjects fall within the broad categories that are often labeled as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). But neither that, nor the newer, and infinitely clumsier STEAMM+D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, Medicine plus Design) really hits the spot. 

Barring breaking news from Robert Mueller, or Trump declaring that God-Emperor really does have a nice ring to it, these Saturday slots are reserved to touch on science, on transportation, on health care, and on space, and on how climate change shapes our present and our future. And, if all goes well, they’ll also touch on some other items that are critically endangered in work week news—arts, literature, history, and philosophy. Obviously, not all these things will be addressed in the same way (though the idea of a weekly Abbreviated Philosophy Round-up is genuinely intriguing) but they’re all subjects of critical importance which, like music classes at a cash-strapped school district, all too easily get ignored in the rush of the week. 

So help us think of a label, a term, or an acronym that says all that— here’s some science, some art, some health, some thought, and some genuine consideration to how we’re shaping the environment of our world. While you’re at it, don’t forget the ‘C’ in this no-it-doesn’t-really-have-to-be-an-acronym. Community. The whole purpose of this is to nurture, encourage, and hopefully reward the fantastic and diverse community that happens to gather in this space. 

Now, come on in. It’s time for ‘S.’

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Donald Trump is already obsessing over 2020. He won't rule out using hacked data from his rivals, he's glued to the TV sizing up potential Democratic contenders during "executive time," and his minions are busy rigging the primaries to block any potential GOP challengers from getting a foothold. And one of those potential challengers has a question for Trump: "What are you so afraid of?"

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wants to know why the Republican National Committee is taking what he calls "unprecedented" steps to kneecap any potential GOP rivals to Trump. 

But Hogan isn't the only one calling the Trump campaign's desperate bid to knock out any challengers unprecedented—that's exactly how Trump campaign officials described their effort to pack state and local party operations with Trump loyalists. Bedrock Trump states like South Carolina are even considering scrapping their GOP primary altogether.

But if Trump's support is really that solid, Hogan wonders what all fuss is about. “If he has unanimous support and everybody is on board, why shut down the normal process?” Hogan asked in an interview with Politico. “It’s almost like a hostage situation.”

Hogan is only the second GOP governor to ever win reelection in Maryland and with overall approval ratings in the high 70s, he has something Trump will never ever have: crossover appeal. But the potential for crossover votes doesn't count for jack these days in Trump’s cult-like Republican party. That said, if Trump's a sure thing, why all the bluster?

“Why are they so concerned? Why the puffing out the chest," Hogan wonders. "‘We’ve put together the greatest team ever assembled, we’re going to raise all this money early, we’re going to hire all these people early, we’re going to take over the RNC.’”

Obviously, nothing is more scary to Trump than losing, which his team clearly considers a distinct possibility. What we are watching are the machinations of a campaign whose candidate is absolutely desperate to win and not at all sure he'll have the juice to do it without tilting the field in his direction. 

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

We don’t really need any more reasons to know that Donald Trump’s border wall is a terrible and ghastly idea. But just in case the waste of money, blatant xenophobia, lies, lack of public support, and complete failure to meaningfully address drug addiction aren’t enough, here’s one more: The plan will destroy sacred sites, including cemeteries. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2018, the Trump administration was fully preparing to bulldoze its way through cemeteries near the border in order to build a fence. They received the  approval to do so from officials at the Department of Homeland Security, who waived laws that were previously designed to protect certain sites from fencing and barrier projects—including the Endangered Species and Clean Air Acts and a prohibition against disturbing the dead. In other words, Trump wants his base to have a wall so badly that he is willing to destroy wildlife refuges and build on top of dead bodies, robbing people of the right to pay respects to their relatives. 

How completely repugnant and shameful.

And it gets worse. In one Texas town, building Trump’s border fence would destroy an important piece of American history. The Jackson Ranch Church Cemetery, which sits north of the Rio Grande, is the resting place of families who bore the surnames Jackson and Ramirez. Nathaniel Jackson, born in 1798, was the heir to a plantation in Alabama. Jackson fell in love with an enslaved woman named Matilda Hicks, with whom he married and started a family. When the Civil War broke out and threatened their interracial family, they fled to Texas, stopping at the Rio Grande where they could also get to Mexico, which had already abolished slavery. 

Subsequently, Jackson bought a ranch that became a stop on the Underground Railroad. He was never caught, and after his death, he was buried in a family plot on the ranch. His children were also buried nearby in a second cemetery. For years, generations of the family maintained both the cemeteries. As time went on, the Jacksons intermarried with Tejano families—hence becoming Ramirezes. Their black ancestry faded eventually, but the Ramirezes continue to maintain the cemeteries to this day, which also now include monuments to their descendants who fought in World Wars I and II and Korea. In one, there is even a headstone honoring an ancestor who fought for the South in the Civil War, placed there before the Ramirez family knew their family history of involvement in the Underground Railroad. 

The family has obtained a lawyer and joined local activists in fighting the plan for the border fence, which would be built along a levee and cut off access to part of the cemeteries. While the government has given Trump the go-ahead to ruin not just sacred burial sites but also this vital part of history, they can’t even answer basic questions about the plan, such as: Will the bodies be exhumed? Will they be moved if they are exhumed? Who will pay for that? Will they consult the Ramirez family to get their permission? 

Just after Trump declared his bogus national emergency to try to get his wall, one of the supervisors on the Border Patrol “wall team” (yes, that’s an actual thing) went on television to discuss construction of the wall. He gave a very vague response to the concerns about the fate of cemeteries in this process, saying that there is no construction planned on the border fence near cemeteries “at this time.”

There are other families in the area that say that past fence construction has cut off their access to cemeteries as well. Those graves were simply bulldozed over, and the relatives were not allowed to visit the area for over a decade. When they finally were permitted access, they couldn’t find the graves of their relatives, and the cemetery was overgrown with brush, having been abandoned that entire time. 

Just when you think this situation can’t get any worse, it does. Trump is hell-bent on getting his border wall and is content to destroy lives in the process. He’ll also ruin a slice of the history marked by courage and determination on behalf of freedom for black Americans. Surely that’s not just coincidence. Trump is nothing if not consistent about making life unbearable for black and brown people, and that’s just what his base wants. Their so-called economic anxiety (read: racism) is so strong, they’ll gladly destroy the past, present, and future in order to preserve their own comfort and way of life. 

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu

SPOILERS through end of S5, i.e., all episodes so far )

(Oops, I forgot the +1 and I can't add a poll in after the fact, sorry.)

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

What do you do if you’re a U.S. attorney who wants to gain political cred with Trumpworld? For one prosecutor, North Carolina’s Bobby Higdon, the answer appears to be prosecuting noncitizens for voting, TPM’s Allegra Kirkland reports. The state election board found 41 noncitizens among the 4.8 million people voting in the 2016 election in North Carolina, and Higdon seems determined to prosecute each and every one of them … even though his office ignored multiple tips about the serious Republican-executed election fraud that just led to a new election being called in the 9th Congressional District.

In August 2018, Higdon announced charges against 19 people, most of them legal permanent residents confused about their voting status. One actually presented her green card at the polls, a clear sign that she was acting in good, if misinformed, faith. A judge fined her just $100. A U.S. citizen and former volunteer poll worker who did get two months of jail time for registering her noncitizen boyfriend to vote told the court that she had hoped a current poll worker would tell her boyfriend if he was indeed eligible, and “The reason it happened is because there was no training about whether or not legal aliens could vote―never―all of the elections I’ve ever worked. And I truly didn’t know.”

Higdon hadn’t previously seemed interested in voting issues, having spent years as a prosecutor focusing mostly on drug crimes—and losing one job “after a federal appeals court expressed grave concerns that prosecutors under his leadership had withheld evidence.” But he’s all-in now, and the reasons aren’t hard to guess. “Bobby has always been a diehard, unapologetic conservative Republican and proud of it,” one of his former coworkers told TPM. “Bobby is quite ambitious politically,” said another North Carolina lawyer. And in today’s Republican Party, going after vulnerable people who acted out of confusion and ignorance is a more sure-fire way to fulfill ambitions than, say, clamping down on all-out election fraud being conducted by Republicans.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

The launch of the Democratic presidential primary races has come with a new willingness to consider Big Ideas. Republican calls for tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity for absolutely everyone else continue without change, but polls show the general public has soured on both Republican rhetoric and Republican results. There is room for crafting something new. It may be single-payer health insurance, of the sort used by other nations to achieve better healthcare results than our current system. It may be a new willingness to rein in Wall Street's most egregious gambling, or new penalties for lenders that habitually cheat their own customers.

Matt Yglesias pipes up with evidence for what could be another Big Idea worth considering. What if we worked to solve homelessness the most cost-efficient way: by providing homes?

[G]ood policy also requires greater awareness of a fundamental research insight that is becoming a point of consensus among policy insiders — it’s cheaper to give homeless people homes to live in than to let the homeless live on the streets and try to deal with the subsequent problems.

That may be a counterintuitive result, but the research backs it up. Policing, emergency medical care, non-emergency medical care, waste cleanup, and other costs associated with homelessness are all expensive. They turn out to be more expensive than simply providing homeless Americans with a taxpayer-funded room and bed, a safe place for their belongings and themselves, and an address to use when job-hunting. So why not do the cheaper thing, the thing that both costs less and leads to significantly better outcomes for all involved?

New research aside, it's not a novel observation. This is what public housing projects of the past have sought to accomplish, reducing homelessness and homelessness-related crime by providing cheap, if bare, residences in areas where housing pressures have priced a significant portion of residents out of the private market. But that approach is bitterly fought over, most infamously in recent years by those who benefited from that taxpayer generosity but who now call themselves self-made and have now moved into the same top income brackets that, during their own childhood, provided much of the funding for those projects.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

On Friday, along with new rumors, replacing the old rumors, to suggest that Robert Mueller will not release any report next can another bit of news that seems genuinely curious. As reported in the New York TImes, Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen is still having conversations with federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York to inform them about issues related to the Trump Organization.

What makes this particularly odd is that Michael Cohen has already been sentenced. Michael Cohen is already on his way to jail—though his original March 1 reporting date has been moved back a smidge to allow more time for him to appear before Congress. So it would seem that Michael Cohen’s incentive to spill any more beans is pretty limited. However, he does have at least two possible motivations for sitting down to explain what he knows. First, Cohen has been fiercely protective of information about his wife and father-in-law. So much so that the SDNY prosecutors refused to give him much credit for cooperating because he refused to answer questions about potential crimes connected to other members of his family. It’s possible that Cohen is talking now not out of a deal to alter his own sentence, but as part of an arrangement to shelter others.

It’s also possible that he’s just so mad at Donald Trump, that he welcomes the chance to burn him, even if he gains nothing but satisfaction.

Cohen’s reported testimony falls in two areas: “irregularities” at the Trump Organization, and the scheme to fatten the inaugural fund through massive donations that got spent on … something. Though there are many irregularities at the Trump Organization that could have been discussed, it seems that Cohen spoke specifically about a series of insurance claims. This might include $17 million in claims of storm damage at Mar-a-lago; damage that no one on the ground seems to recall.

The second set of questions Cohen addressed related to $900,000 handed over to Trump’s inaugural committee by venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi. Zuberi is just one of several characters under investigation after they made substantial contributions to the apparently limitless inaugural fund, sometimes pairing those contributions with payments to Cohen. That includes a Mar-a-lago member who for whom Trump attempted to strongarm a payment from Qatar.

These questions — about Trump’s business practices and about the activities of the inaugural committee — provide a good preview of what things might look like once Robert Mueller really does step back from the game. Because they suggest that the investigation of Trump is only warming up.

[syndicated profile] balloon_juice_feed

Posted by Anne Laurie

The public book repositories that were such an important part of so many of our childhoods have changed considerably since the days when Maurice Sendak was best known for illustrating Else Minarik’s Little Bear easy readers. Our little New England industrial town is on the point of reopening a new, totally redesigned library that will feature (along with much improved access to books & magazines) “… our new video gaming setup… 3D printers, laser cutter, and laptop vending machine in the Makerspace… our business center [where] the scanner can translate the text on a scrap of paper into over 50 different languages… “

And the New York Times knows this, which is why the headline is more than a little disingenuous, but it’s still a great read:

The Obama Presidential Center promises to be a presidential library like no other.

The four-building, 19-acre “working center for citizenship,” set to be built in a public park on the South Side of Chicago, will include a 235-foot-high “museum tower,” a two-story event space, an athletic center, a recording studio, a winter garden, even a sledding hill.

But the center, which will cost an estimated $500 million, will also differ from the complexes built by Barack Obama’s predecessors in another way: It won’t actually be a presidential library.

In a break with precedent, there will be no research library on site, and none of Mr. Obama’s official presidential records. Instead, the Obama Foundation will pay to digitize the roughly 30 million pages of unclassified paper records from the administration so they can be made available online.

And the entire complex, including the museum chronicling Mr. Obama’s presidency, will be run by the foundation, a private nonprofit entity, rather than by the National Archives and Records Administration, the federal agency that administers the libraries and museums for all presidents going back to Herbert Hoover.

The plan was revealed, with little fanfare, in May 2017. Few details of the digitization were made public until Tuesday, when the foundation and the archives unexpectedly released a legal agreement outlining procedures for creating what is being billed as “first digital archives for the first digital president,” which they say will democratize access.

But as awareness of the plan has spread, some historians see a threat to future scholarship on the Obama administration — and to the presidential library system itself…

Timothy Naftali, the former director of the Richard Nixon library, where he is credited with overhauling museum exhibits to give a more honest accounting of Watergate, called the decision “a huge mistake.”

“It was astounding to me that a good presidency would do this,” Mr. Naftali said.

“It opens the door,” he added, “to a truly terrible Trump library.”…

The Trump Library — assuming the Saudis or the Mercers eventually get around to rededicating some abandoned golf clubhouse or unsaleable retail space — will be truly terrible under any circumstances. Kudos to President Obama for envisioning something other than a spiritual mausoleum celebrating his personal charisma:

… “America’s pyramids,” as the historian Robert Caro has called them, have also been subject to withering criticism. Over time what were intended as impartial repositories have ballooned into grandiose shrines where former presidents and their foundations wield influence not only at the museums (whose exhibits they pay for) but even, some have charged, in the research reading rooms themselves.

Anthony Clark*, the author of “The Last Campaign,” a recent book about presidential libraries, called the Obama Foundation’s break with the existing model “an unambiguous good for the American taxpayer.”

The National Archives “will not be saddled, as it is at the federal presidential libraries of Mr. Obama’s 13 immediate predecessors, with the expense and embarrassment of hosting troublingly politicized exhibits, speakers, events and educational programs,” he said…

*See previous post(s)

Much more detail at the link.

Me, I’m looking forward to seeing what develops in Chicago.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed
Leading Off

North Carolina: In an astonishing ruling released late on Friday afternoon, a North Carolina state court struck down two constitutional amendments passed by voters last fall, saying that because the Republican-run legislature had been elected under an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, it had "lost its claim to popular sovereignty" and therefore was not empowered to place those amendments on the ballot.​

Campaign Action

​Those amendments concerned very different topics: One established a new voter ID requirement while another lowered the cap on the state's maximum allowed income tax rate. Both, noted the court, harm black and Latino voters (the case was brought by the NAACP), with the latter doing so because it "tends to favor white households" and would "reinforc[e] the accumulation of wealth for white taxpayers." Voters approved both measures by double-digit margins last fall.

This ruling is highly unusual but not unique: In 1964, a federal court in Connecticut enjoined the state legislature, which had been elected using unconstitutional districts, from passing any laws until it had reconstituted itself under new maps. In the North Carolina case, the court limited its holding solely to efforts to amend the state constitution, saying the requirements for the legislature to do so "are unique and distinct from the requirements to enact other legislation."

There's no question, though, that Republicans will vociferously challenge this decision on appeal, and it could very well get overturned: Election law expert Rick Hasen opined that it's "not at all clear that this ruling will stand." But if it does survive, it would finally force Republicans to pay a price for their relentless gerrymandering and potentially open up an entire new avenue of challenges to the actions of tainted legislatures elsewhere.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Pelosi just challenged Trump’s corruption and lies. Here’s what should come next.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and her fellow House Democrats just introduced a resolution to terminate President Trump’s national emergency. In coming days, the resolution will likely pass the House, setting in motion a process that will force a Senate vote on it. Either Senate Republicans will side with Trump, or they’ll pass the measure, after which Trump will veto it.

This represents a small challenge to Trump’s corruption and lies — to his corruption of our institutions and political system with autocratic and authoritarian conduct, and to the deep rot of bad faith at the core of his willingness to declare a national emergency to build his wall based on false pretenses and invented metrics.

The move probably won’t succeed in terminating the emergency. But it points to something we need to see a lot more of: discussion of concrete proposals and actions designed to fortify our institutions and democracy against Trump’s ongoing degradations of them, and to restore confidence in them once Trump is gone.

Julie K.Brown wrote the Miami Herald story about Jeffrey Epstein getting away with a slap on the wrist for child sex trafficking.

x

Bottom line is Acosta, who heads an agency with oversight over human trafficking and child labor — has never explained why he sealed this deal with an accused child sex trafficker. https://t.co/TNFozz0Zlh

— julie k. brown (@jkbjournalist) February 22, 2019

Relevant re the Robert Kraft (NE Patriots owner) charges about sex trafficking and solicitation/prostitution.

[syndicated profile] balloon_juice_feed

Posted by Anne Laurie

First thing is, I don’t text. My secondhand Galaxy S6 has texting capabilities, but I don’t need them, so I’ve never bothered to learn them; the only ones who contact me via text are T-Mobile and my dentist’s office, both of whom get phone calls if I need to reply.

Second thing is, I don’t give out my cell number, if I can avoid it. We still have a landline, and that’s what I use for ActBlue or similar sites that demand phone numbers. Even Senator Warren’s people don’t have my cell number, and I *like* her campaign!

So… when I got an exclamation-point-laden text telling me that, as a “Bernie Supporter” I would be *very excited* to add my name!!! to the latest local-voluteer list… I assumed some schmuck had paid for the wrong mailing list. But the tweet here, and the numerous replies with screenshots of similar misdirected Bernie-begs, are making me wonder if this is gonna be a nationwide pest problem going forward. (Especially since the ‘yeah, me neither’ tweets I’m seeing are all from people with feminine nyms. Which could be a coincidence, but then again… )

Any of you jackals getting unsolicited cell-spam from the BernieBros, or from other candidates? Is this yet another form of grift to which we’re gonna have to adapt?

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Steve Vladeck and Tess Bridgeman at Just Security write—About that Trial Balloon on Using the 9/11 AUMF to Authorize U.S. Strikes on Iran

Monday’s Washington Times included a breathless “Exclusive” report titled “Iran-al Qaeda Alliance May Provide Legal Rationale for U.S. Military Strikes.” In the piece, the Times strings together a series of paraphrased comments from unidentified “Trump administration officials” and “congressional and legal sources” to suggest that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force—the AUMF—“may now provide a legal rationale for striking Iranian territory or proxies.” Pause on that for a moment; the Times piece basically suggests that, if President Trump wanted to, he could invoke the AUMF to start a war with Iran—and he could do it tomorrow.

The main claim behind the Times story, it seems, is that Iran is increasingly “harboring” al Qaeda by providing sanctuary to certain al Qaeda officials in Iran and through indirect financial support. As the Times writes, “Behind the scenes in Washington, there is increasing speculation that the White House could make a case for military strikes [against Iran] using the existing AUMF, which authorizes the president to use all ‘appropriate force’ to target those who ‘planned, authorized, committed or aided’ the 9/11 attacks on America.” (The AUMF also authorized force against those who “harbored” the “organizations or persons” that committed the 9/11 attacks, long understood to refer to the Taliban government in Afghanistan before 9/11.) [...] 

Although the Times piece asserts that “legal analysts say the administration likely would have a strong argument,” it only quotes one such individual (retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charlie Dunlap), who said only that the AUMF might apply “if the facts show Iran or any other nation is harboring al Qaeda” (emphasis added). As Tess’s piece points out, it’s not remotely clear as a matter of facts or as a matter of law that such a claim holds water. Insofar as the Dunlap quote was answering a hypothetical, it seems deeply irresponsible for the Times to assert that the “administration likely would have a strong argument.” [...]

First, it seems crystal clear that the story is nothing more than a trial balloon—something that someone in the Trump administration is publicly planting to see what reaction, if any, it provokes. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with government officials floating trial balloons. But it seems to us that the media has an obligation, when presented with such an obvious plant, to do more than simply repackage it as an exclusive news story—and in particular to be clearer about the nature of the factual and legal claims that are offered to it without attribution or sourcing. If the Times story is intended to plant a seed that there could potentially be a set of facts under which the 2001 AUMF could arguably be extended to encompass Iran on a “harboring” theory, nothing in the piece comes within a country mile of convincing us that those facts exist—or might soon. Nor does it come close to grappling with the obvious legal questions raised by its hugely consequential premise.

Second, and at a more basic level, the fact that we’re even having this conversation is yet further proof, alongside years of previous examples, of the desperate need for Congress to revisit the 2001 AUMF—a statute that is now older than some of the soldiers we’re sending into harm’s way under its open-ended but not limitless terms. [...]

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“In every treaty, insert a clause which can easily be violated, so that the entire agreement can be broken in the case the interests of the state make it expedient to do so.”          ~~Louis XIV, Mémoires et instructions de Louis XIV pour le Dauphin (1661-1665)

TWEET OF THE DAY

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Things the GOP says we can’t afford:-Medicare-for-All-A Green New Deal-A living wage for workers-Universal childcareThings the GOP has deemed affordable:-Giving the big banks another massive tax break https://t.co/jCR765JsOW

— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) February 22, 2019

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2016—Vulnerable Senate Republicans decide blocking Obama's nominee is safest bet:

Endangered Senate Republicans have received their marching orders: block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee no matter what. Even at the expense of their own re-election. Confusion over whether to do the job they were elected—and bound by the constitution—to do or to keep the base happy still reins, and some of them are trying to have it both ways, couching their obstruction as somehow doing their duty. [...]

So much for that 2014 pledge by Republicans that they'd show they are capable of governing. The only thing Republicans are proving they're good at is doing the bidding of extremists.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: The big story of the day was Trump Labor Sec. Acosta letting Trump buddy Epstein off the hook for his child sex trafficking. The minute we were done, Trump buddy Kraft got busted in a sex trafficking ring in the very same jurisdiction. Gee whiz!

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January 2019

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