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📝 Must Read Op-Ed and Profiles

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#301

A compelling read. Max Boot succinctly lays out the incriminating evidence that is piling up against Trump.

As a follow-up, here’s Max Boot and Susan Glasser on a panel with Don Lemon, discussing Giuliani’s extraordinary admission that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia – and the real possibility that our President could be a Russian asset.


#302

Jezzz, the rats have invaded.


#303

The Atlantic calls for Impeachment


#304

Doris Kearns Goodwin has written a lot on the character and life of various Presidents. She compares our current one against the robust character, Teddy Roosevelt, who was equally outspoken, and wealthy but tempered by a sense of fairness and a sense of duty to uphold all people and institutions.

Interesting article…I liked reading the last two paragraphs in particular where she decries the things we have lost along the way - belief and trust in someone’s word and the institutional necessity of a three-pronged government and a robust press.

The Square Deal, the slogan that would come to characterize Roosevelt’s entire domestic program, was predicated upon this fellow feeling and a determination to be fair to all. “I believe in rich people who act squarely, and in labor unions which are managed with wisdom and justice. But when either employee or employer, laboring man or capitalist, goes wrong, I have to clinch him, and that is all there is to it.”

The Square Deal, like all deals, hinged upon intention, promises, pledges, and execution. All deals are based upon stability and coherence. The words that make up a durable deal cannot be granted one day and walked back the next. Roosevelt called words that were emptied of meaning “weasel words,” as if a weasel had sucked out the nourishment of truth and left behind an empty shell.

Today, a pattern has emerged of misspoken statements, half- truths, invented distractions, and outright fabrications. Critical analyses and disagreements are termed fake. Blatant falsehoods are repeated again and again. Yet constant repetition of an assertion does not make it true—except perhaps in the nonsense realm of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark: “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”

This is beyond simply winning or losing. There is a terrible danger in growing accustomed to the erosion of meaning in our political discourse. Serious, perhaps lasting, damage is being done to our identity as Americans and to our democracy. We are moving in a direction in which trust will be vaporized and truth becomes a fugitive.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the presidential historian, is the author of the newly published Leadership in Turbulent Times


#305

Garrett Graff makes a good point in this Op-Ed from Wired magazine. Read the whole thing. :point_down:

IT WOULD BE rather embarrassing for Donald Trump at this point if Robert Mueller were to declare that the president isn’t an agent of Russian intelligence.

In short, we’ve reached a point in the Mueller probe where there are only two scenarios left: Either the president is compromised by the Russian government and has been working covertly to cooperate with Vladimir Putin after Russia helped win him the 2016 election—or Trump will go down in history as the world’s most famous “useful idiot,” as communists used to call those who could be co-opted to the cause without realizing it.


#306

Useful idiot, hmm do we get to vote on which? Oh yes in 2020 if not for impeachment prior to 2020.


#307

Rep Ted Lieu asks this week for for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked. This opinion piece is all about Kushner having just skated by, given passes on his documents, business relations and his ‘playing government,’ as noted by John Kelly. He may be stopped by Congress or Mueller or both.


#308

Sorry, Republicans. You can’t call out Northam for racism and give Trump a pass.


#309

Great Senate floor speech by Senator from Colorado
This speech is worth watching IMO, it’s great when someone with passion for what they do puts logic and rationale thought into what they say.


#310

Some remarks on the SOTU from a Republican

President Trump, in soaring rhetoric, has told us that it’s his way or the highway, and that he wants national unity behind his way or we will suffer the consequences. If they hit you, he has said repeatedly, hit them back harder. If everybody acted this way, what a fine mess we’d be in. So just the president can act this way. Unity.

And this is not just empty talk from us. We have led by example. We have acted, as a party, like complete and shameless slithering invertebrates in our subservience to our leader. Slithering, by example, is our party’s national message, and we call on all Americans to slink and creep beside us into the future. Thank you, and Donald Trump bless America.


#311

Opinions galore…no such thing as unity.

President Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway previewed the State of the Union address as a “call for more comity.

Perhaps she meant “comedy”?

The notion that this president, who governs by insult, leads by division and delights in inflaming grievances, would be associated with comity is, well, funny.

Each year, around Groundhog Day, Trump emerges to give a one-night bipartisan appeal, and Tuesday night’s rendition was, by Trumpian standards, generous. But then he spends the next 12 months throwing shadow.

“Together we can break decades of political stalemate,” Trump inveighed Tuesday. “We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions.”


#312

Another example of why we need to drastically limit the amount of money that can be contributed to PACs.

… From the looks of it, GOP politicians got what they wanted… From the time the tax bill was first introduced on Nov. 2, 2017, until the end of the year, a 60-day period, dozens of billionaires and millionaires dramatically boosted their political contributions unlike they had in past years, giving a total of $31.1 million in that two months, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics found.

A compelling info-graphic is also included.

Hats off to Mother Jones and their intrepid correspondents for the huge amount of research they did on this piece – it must represent hundreds of hours of dogged investigative reporting. And kudos as well go to the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Responsive Politics. :trophy:


#313

Stacey Abrams wrote a beautiful piece in Foreign Affairs about “identity politics”.

She nails it right here. :point_down:

Beyond electoral politics, Fukuyama and others argue that by calling out ethnic, cultural, gender, or sexual differences, marginalized groups harm themselves and their causes. By enumerating and celebrating distinctions, the argument goes, they give their opponents reasons for further excluding them. But minorities and the marginalized have little choice but to fight against the particular methods of discrimination employed against them. The marginalized did not create identity politics: their identities have been forced on them by dominant groups, and politics is the most effective method of revolt.


#314

From the NY Times editorial board.

Opinion
Saudi Arabia’s Threadbare Cover-Up of Khashoggi’s Killing Unravels Further

The crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was overheard threatening to silence the self-exiled Washington Post journalist “with a bullet.”

The latest have come from American intelligence agencies, a United Nations investigator and a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, sources that in their diversity and breadth should serve notice on Prince Mohammed that all his oil wealth and powerful friends will not wash away the blood of the slain journalist.

A report in The Times on Thursday said the National Security Agency and other American spy agencies have uncovered an intercepted conversation in which Prince Mohammed tells a top aide more than a year before Mr. Khashoggi’s murder that if the self-exiled journalist cannot be enticed back to Saudi Arabia, he should be brought back by force. And if that didn’t work, the prince is heard to say, he would go after Mr. Khashoggi “with a bullet.
Whether Prince Mohammed meant that literally or figuratively, the quote reveals a young, ruthlessly ambitious autocrat furious that a one-time insider dared criticize him as he sought to impose his will on the kingdom, including the repression of all who dare speak their mind. It was shortly after that conversation that Mr. Khashoggi produced his first column for The Washington Post, where he wrote: “I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison.”

We Saudis deserve better,” he concluded.

Despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to blunt the allegations against Prince Mohammed, who had cultivated a close relationship with the president and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, an assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency weeks after the killing concluded that the crown prince had to have ordered it.

At the United Nations, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, reported Thursday that her initial findings “show prime facie case that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia.” Though that essentially confirmed what is already widely accepted, the very fact of the independent United Nations investigation under a respected human-rights expert (Ms. Callamard, of France, is also director of Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression project), whose team includes a British barrister and a Portuguese forensics expert, is a welcome escalation of the pressures on Saudi Arabia to come clean. The panel will report its full findings in June.

A coalition of prominent nongovernment organizations, meanwhile, issued a joint statement accusing the Saudi government of continuing to persecute dissidents, activists, journalists and independent clerics. The group — the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Open Society Justice Initiative, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders — also accused the Trump administration of a “cover-up on behalf of the Saudi government” and called the trial of 11 Saudi individuals accused of killing Mr. Khashoggi “a sham.”


#315

From the LA Times Editorial Board

With Dems clearly running the show in terms of the collusionary (word?) and potentially illegal conduct of this administration, the R’s do have something to be afraid of - a robust, and legal effort to follow the money, actions and evidence as it relates to T and his campaign, his administration and what part the R’s have been protecting.

The operative word in the title is “should,” meaning yes, the R’s should step up to the plate, but will they?

That ambitious agenda is justified and overdue, but it’s also potentially explosive politically. For that reason, it’s important that the committee under Democratic control not be perceived as being simply the mirror image of Nunes’ partisan operation, dedicated to discrediting the president instead of defending him. Nor should its investigation be framed as a dry run for impeachment.

Schiff has said the committee’s investigation would focus principally on “five interconnected lines of inquiry”: what the Russian government has done to influence U.S. elections and how the U.S. government has responded; the extent of any links or coordination between Russia and figures in Trump’s orbit; whether any foreign actor has sought or holds any kind of leverage over Trump or his associates; whether Trump or his associates are or were vulnerable to foreign manipulation, or ever sought to shape U.S. policy to advance foreign interests; and whether anyone has tried to obstruct investigations into these matters.

This suggests a dramatically more aggressive inquiry than the Republican-led House investigation, which reported last year that it had found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.” (In a dissenting report, Democrats claimed that the majority failed to call key witnesses and request pertinent documents, omissions the new majority presumably will seek to rectify.)


#316

I’m not sure where to put this, it’s kind of a profile. This is the IG report on why Andrew McCabe was fired. Basically he went on deep background for a WSJ story by Devlin Barrett, supposedly to head off leaks coming out of the NY FBI office. He had the full authorization to do so from his position. It came down to Comey’s testimony vs. his and the IG found he lacked candor in his statements to the IG about said incident. I think that’s right, it’s a long weird story. Worth a deep dive if you have the time.

Here’s the WSJ article in question. It’s about the handling of, you guessed it, Hillary’s emails!


#317

No comment here. I’ll let Trump speak for himself:

President Donald Trump once said taking executive action on immigration was an unconstitutional action that could lead to impeachment.

Trump’s past comments are at odds with his current plans to declare a national emergency and other executive actions to secure funding for a border wall.

Trump made the comments on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” in November 2014 when asked about executive actions by then-President Barack Obama that would halt deportations for the undocumented parents of children born in the United States.

“Now he has to use executive action and this is a very, very dangerous thing that should be overwritten easily by the Supreme Court,” Trump said.

“So we’re looking now at a situation, it should absolutely not pass muster in terms of constitutionality, but it depends on what these justices do,” he added. …

“Well, he certainly did something that was unconstitutional,” Trump said. “Now, it depends on Justice (John) Roberts. If he wants to just curry favor in the Beltway like he did with Obamacare, because that’s the only reason he did it. Because he knows he was wrong, but it certainly depends on what happens. I mean, I think certainly he could be impeached and certainly they could shut down the government.”


#318

An absorbing read for the weekend.

UPDATE: Don’t mess with Judge Jackson. Just a few minutes ago she placed a gag order on Roger Stone. :clap:

When political showman Roger Stone flew from Florida to the nation’s capital last month to stand trial on charges of lying to federal investigators, he was directed to an increasingly familiar destination in the massive federal judicial complex in Washington: Courtroom 3, where Judge Amy Berman Jackson presides.

Jackson has become a low-key but recurring fixture of the special counsel investigation – six of the 12 cases brought by Robert Mueller’s team have had matters brought before her. And Courtroom 3 has been home to some of the most headline-grabbing moments in the special counsel’s two-year investigation, with Jackson, a 2011 Obama appointee, serving as an imposing presence.


Judge Amy Berman Jackson


#319

I tend to believe whatever comes out of this man’s mouth.

Frank Figliuzzi

C. Frank Figliuzzi is the former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence and a previous chief inspector of the FBI. He is now the COO for ETS Risk Management, Inc. and an analyst for NBC News/MSNBC.

The fact that McCabe may have lacked candor during an inquiry troubles me greatly, but the circumstances around his firing trouble me even more and give rise to concern that the White House or attorney general put their thumbs on the scale of justice when it came to decisions of what to do with McCabe. Importantly, even if the lack of candor allegations were valid, we need to take notice of McCabe’s verifiable observations and accounts. He’s sounding an alarm and we need to listen.


(Renee) #320

And there is always a RICO investigation possible… Another middle weight crook punching up. Of course if you have father that will send a 1 or 2 $M to Harvard in order for you to get in…well maybe he should wise-up and realize he is a failure and not a prince. Please or please, let them all go to prison.