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(M A Croft) #381

“It’s the same the whole world over.
It’s the rich what get the pleasure,
It’s the poor what get the blame”

We have the same down here
This article caught my eye this morning -

No problems with socialism and welfare when it applies to yours truly, but don’t expect him to care about those who really need it.


#382

Profile of Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He once prosecuted a FBI Agent for acting as a Soviet asset. This is a good read and maybe the reason he’s so hawkish on this issue.


#383

This is a pretty fair characterization of Mueller’s press conference this morning in conjunction with our current political climate.

This last bit really drives the reality of the situation home.

First, Mueller was adamant that his team had not exonerated the president of obstruction of justice. “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” he said rather sternly. Mueller also implicitly rebuked those who dismiss obstruction as a mere “process crime” unworthy of attention, saying that it “strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.” If he hoped this notion would take root in the Trump administration, it was in vain; Trump immediately claimed that Mueller found insufficient evidence of obstruction.

Second, Mueller seemed concerned that Americans have focused on what Trump did rather than on what Russia did. He described his conclusions about overt Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and closed by repeating that “there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.” Mueller’s frustration is justified: Russia’s aggressive misconduct seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

Mueller is a man out of time. This is the age of alternatively factual tweets and sound bites; he’s a by-the-book throwback who expects Americans to read and absorb carefully worded 400-page reports. Has he met us? His high standards sometimes manifest as touching naïveté. “I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” Mueller said today, explaining that his report was his testimony and that Congress should not expect him to answer questions with any new information.

If he thinks that reprimand will deter Congress , he doesn’t grasp why Congress would summon him to testify. Our representatives don’t need the answers as much as they need to be seen on camera asking the questions. The rough beast of 2020 slouches toward us. Names can be made, primaries won and lost, and profiles elevated by those questions, whether they support Trump or condemn him. Washington is no place for a rule-follower.


#384

[quote=“Pet_Proletariat, post:383, topic:965”]
Second, Mueller seemed concerned that Americans have focused on what Trump did rather than on what Russia did. He described his conclusions about overt Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and closed by repeating that “there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.” Mueller’s frustration is justified: Russia’s aggressive misconduct seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

I strongly agree with this. It drives me nuts that no one, not the media pundits, nor our Congress seem to give a damn that our election was violated! And it’s going to happen again.


#385

You know he has a point…and plays him on TV. Whatever it takes…just do it.

From The New York Times:

Robert De Niro: Robert Mueller, We Need to Hear More

You said that I your investigation’s work “speaks for itself.” It doesn’t.

There’s a lot of speculation about the president being tone-deaf to facts, but there’s not much disagreement about the tone. Whether you take delight in it as his loyal supporters do or you’re the unfortunate target of his angry rhetoric, the hostile way he expresses himself registers with everyone. Nor is there much credible disagreement that the president treats lies, exaggerations and bullying as everyday weapons in his communication toolbox. These onslaughts of rhetoric aimed at his opposition mostly leave his antagonists sputtering in response, but I don’t think an in-kind response will be very effective either.

Say what you will about the president — and I have — when it comes to that lying, exaggerating, bullying thing, no one can touch him.

He has set up a world where it seems as if those disapproving of him can effectively challenge him only by becoming just like him. He’s bringing down the level of the entire playing field.

And here, Mr. Mueller, is where you come in — where you need to come in. In your news conference, you said that your investigation’s work “speaks for itself.” It doesn’t. It may speak for itself to lawyers and lawmakers who have the patience and obligation to read through the more than 400 pages of carefully chosen words and nuanced conclusions (with all due respect, as good a read as it is, you’re no Stephen King).

You’ve characterized the report as your testimony, but you wouldn’t accept that reason from anyone your office interviewed. Additional information and illumination emerge from responses to questions. I know you’re as uncomfortable in the spotlight as the president is out of it. I know you don’t want to become part of the political spectacle surrounding Russia’s crimes and your report on them. I know you will, however reluctantly, testify before Congress if called, because you respect the system and follow the rules, and I understand why you’d want to do it away from the public glare.

But the country needs to hear your voice. Your actual voice. And not just because you don’t want them to think that your actual voice sounds like Robert De Niro reading from cue cards, but because this is the report your country asked you to do, and now you must give it authority and clarity without, if I may use the term, obstruction.

We’ve learned our lesson about what can happen to the perception of your work when interpreted in rabid tweets by the president, dissected by pundits all over the map, trumpeted in bizarre terms by the president’s absurd personal lawyer and distorted by the attorney general.

And if, in fact, you have nothing further to say about the investigation, for your public testimony, you could just read from the report in response to questions from members of Congress. Your life has been a shining example of bravely and selflessly doing things for the good of our country. I urge you to leave your comfort zone and do that again.

You are the voice of the Mueller report. Let the country hear that voice.

With great respect,

Robert De Niro


closed #386

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opened #387

#388

This is segment from Last Week Tonight is fantastic.
:eyes: Watch :point_down:


#389

Publisher of the NYT, A. G. Sulzberger takes issue with T’s rhetoric, his malfeasance, and his targeted campaign to discredit the news makers. Use of the word Treason…well, goes far over the line. #ReadItAndWeep

Accusing the New York Times of ‘Treason,’ Trump Crosses a Line

The Founders considered it the gravest of crimes. Tossing the charge around is irresponsible and wrong.

First it was “the failing New York Times.” Then “fake news.” Then “enemy of the people.” President Trump’s escalating attacks on the New York Times have paralleled his broader barrage on American media. He’s gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists with a phrase that’s been used by generations of demagogues.

Now the president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump said the Times had committed “a virtual act of treason.” The charge, levied on Twitter , was in response to an article about American cyber incursions into the Russian electrical grid that his own aides had assured our reporters raised no national-security concerns.

Few paid much attention. Many news organizations, including the Times, determined the accusation wasn’t even worth reporting, a sign of how inured we’ve grown to such rhetorical recklessness. But this new attack crosses a dangerous line in the president’s campaign against a free and independent press.

Treason is the only crime explicitly defined in the U.S. Constitution. The Founding Fathers knew the word’s history as a weapon wielded by tyrants to justify the persecution and execution of enemies. They made its definition immutable—Article III reads: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort”—to ensure that it couldn’t be abused by politicians for self-serving attacks on rivals or critics. The crime is almost never prosecuted, but Mr. Trump has used the word dozens of times.

There is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization. Which presents a troubling question: What would it look like for Mr. Trump to escalate his attacks on the press further? Having already reached for the most incendiary language available, what is left but putting his threats into action?

There’s evidence that’s already happening. The administration has waged an aggressive legal campaign against journalists. Leak investigations, which were already on the rise under President Obama, have surged. Government regulatory powers have been misused to retaliate against news organizations, such as the attempt to block AT&T from acquiring CNN’s parent company, Time Warner. Most recently, the precedent-shattering use of the Espionage Act against Julian Assange for publishing classified information has raised fears that the Justice Department seeks not merely to punish illegal hacking but effectively to criminalize standard reporting practices.

Meanwhile, the president’s rhetorical attacks continue to foster a climate in which trust in journalists is eroding and violence against them is growing. More than a quarter of Americans—and a plurality of Republicans—now agree that “the news media is the enemy of the American people” and “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” A world-wide surge of attacks has made this the most dangerous year for journalists on record. This is particularly true in parts of the world where pursuing the truth already carries great risks, as news reporters and editors experience rising levels of censorship, harassment, imprisonment and murder.

I met with the president in the Oval Office earlier this year and told him directly that authoritarian leaders around the world, with growing impunity, are employing his words to undermine free expression. The president expressed concern and insisted he wanted to be viewed as a defender of the free press. But in the same conversation, he took credit for the term “fake news,” a phrase that has now been wielded by dozens of leaders across five continents to justify everything from the passage of anti-free-speech laws in Egypt to the takeover of independent news organizations in Hungary to a crackdown on investigations into genocide in Myanmar. :astonished:

America’s Founders believed that a free press was essential to democracy, and the American experience has proved them right. Journalism guards freedoms, binds together communities, ferrets out corruption and injustice, and ensures the flow of information that powers everything from elections to the economy. Freedom of the press has been fiercely defended by nearly all American presidents regardless of politics or party affiliation, and regardless of their own complaints about coverage.

There are moments when the press and the government are legitimately at odds, never more so than when the press’s conviction about the public’s right to know collides with the government’s assessment of the importance of maintaining secrecy. Journalists take seriously the concern that their reporting may jeopardize national security, and at the Times we have withheld details or delayed publication when government officials convinced us there was a danger of loss of life or damage to intelligence operations.

The story that prompted the president’s attack was no exception. As the Times prepared the story for publication, our reporter contacted officials at the White House National Security Council, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command and gave them the opportunity to raise any national-security concerns about the story. They told us they did not have any. Shortly after publication, the president accused the Times of treason.

Over 167 years, through 33 presidential administrations, the Times has sought to serve America and its citizens by seeking the truth and helping people understand the world. There is nothing we take more seriously than doing this work fairly and accurately, even when we are under attack. Mr. Trump’s campaign against journalists should concern every patriotic American. A free, fair and independent press is essential to our country’s strength and vitality and to every freedom that makes it great.

:100:

Mr. Sulzberger is publisher of the New York Times.

Appeared in the June 20, 2019, print edition as ‘With Talk of ‘Treason,’ Trump Crosses a Line.’


#390

Another calling out T by the New York Times for his malfeasance and utter disdain (read: Koch/big money allegiances) to working to solve the Climate Crisis.

Abdicating, Again, on Climate

President Trump’s new energy plan aims to save coal-burning power plants and miners’ jobs. It won’t do either.

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

The contrast could not have been more pronounced. On Tuesday, New York’s governor and legislative leaders agreed on an aggressive program to eliminate by midcentury emissions of most of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. The very next day, the Trump administration repudiated yet another of former President Barack Obama’s initiatives aimed at reducing those same emissions. One day, Albany seizes a commanding role in the fight against climate change. The next, Washington scuttles from the field of battle, abandoning any pretense of taking seriously this most pressing of global issues.

The Trump rule, by contrast, asks little of the coal industry, will keep some plants in business and will save jobs. But not for much longer. The industry is already on life support, battered by market forces — cheaper natural gas, the rapid growth in renewable fuels — and by intense public pressure from the likes of Michael Bloomberg, who recently pledged $500 million of his fortune to moving the electric power industry away from all fossil fuels, not just coal but natural gas.

Left to his own devices, Mr. Trump would simply have killed the Obama plan and been done with it. But he couldn’t. As a result of a Supreme Court decision in 2007, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, and a later administrative action known as the endangerment finding, the E.P.A. is obliged to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. What the new rule does is redefine how tough the agency will be in carrying out that duty.
Opinion | Abdicating, Again, on Climate - The New York Times


#391

More NYT opinions…sort of don’t determine anything…but Maureen Dowd offers some praise…

The president blundered into the crisis by canceling the Iranian nuclear deal, tweet-taunting about the “end of Iran” and hiring the hirsute Iran warmonger John Bolton. And our president is such a mercurial blowhard, he could screw it all up again before this column even hits The Times home page.

I’ve been at this treacherous juncture before with presidents. Once the gears in Washington get going, once the military-industrial complex is “cocked & loaded,” once the hawks around you begin Iago-whispering that if you don’t go forward, you’ll be unmanned, it’s awfully hard to reverse course.

Cheney came back to haunt us in the form of his dagger-tongued daughter Liz, the Wyoming House member, who said Trump’s inaction “could in fact be a very serious mistake.” She lobbed the nastiest insult she could think of, comparing Trump to Barack Obama.

Even “Fox & Friends,” which can always be counted on to fluff Trump’s ego, raised doubts. Brian Kilmeade warned: “North Korea’s watching. All our enemies are watching.”

But maybe something new could work with the impossible child-man in the White House: positive reinforcement.

That was very smart, Mr. President, not to tangle with the Persians, who have been engaged in geopolitics since 550 B.C., until you have a better sense of exactly what is going on here. Listen to your isolationist instincts and your base, not to batty Bolton. You don’t want to get mired in a war that could spill over to Saudi Arabia and Israel, sparking conflagrations from Afghanistan to Lebanon and beyond.

Just remember: The Iranians are great negotiators with a bad hand and you are a terrible negotiator with a good hand.


#392

Girls to the front :raised_hands: Profile in Vogue :point_down:


#393

The current administration with it’s head Disrupter of all norms is the one who is participating in this global game changer. It is of particular note that countries like ours who have been up until now proponents of democratic norms, are seding power and cultural beliefs to be more like the ‘surging autocracies like Russia and China.’

Within five years at current trends autocratic countries will account for more than half of global income for the first time in more than a century, according to a recent analysis.
Trump may seem an unlikely representative for this American rediscovery of its global purpose. His critics condemn his closeness to autocrats like Xi, Putin and Kim Jong Un.
However, Trump’s record also includes supporting efforts to democratically replace Venezuela’s dictator, his targeting of China’s unfair trade practices and his opposition to Iran’s mullahs and their Revolutionary Guard Corps.

What’s been broadly reported by now is that global democratic freedoms are in their 13th year of decline, a result both of surging autocracies like Russia and China, fraying freedoms in liberal democracies and Western complacency about both. “The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous,” Freedom House reported in its 2019 assessment
Less recognized, but perhaps ultimately more decisive, is that within five years at current trends autocratic countries will account for more than half of global income for the first time in more than a century. That’s based on an analysis of International Monetary Fund figures by political scientists Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk.


#394

The Editorial Board for the Miami Herald wants Labor Secretary Acosta to go…he’s abused his power by not standing up for the girls and facilitating a pass for Epstein.

This paper of course has been keeping the story very much alive with Julie Brown (see NYT article below)

If Alexander Acosta had done in South Florida what Geoffrey Berman just did in New York, Jeffrey Epstein, a sexual predator, might already be behind bars for the rest of his life instead of serving only 13 months.

If Acosta, when he was U.S. attorney in Miami, had shown an ounce of sympathy for the vulnerable girls Epstein sexually exploited, they would have had a powerful voice on their side. They didn’t. Now, Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is their next best hope for justice.

If Acosta had not shown himself to be ethically challenged 10 years ago, we wouldn’t be calling for his resignation as U.S. secretary of Labor now. But we are — again.

Epstein was arrested Saturday at a New Jersey airport upon his return from Paris. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged him with sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy. He faces a maximum of 45 years in prison if convicted.

In reality, Acosta’s current job has nothing to do with his former position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Except for this: He is an ethically compromised public servant who has failed to address his suspect actions in this case, but he continues to act on citizens’ behalf in the public domain.

In December, we said: “Acosta is now damaged goods. He should realize it and move on. He does not deserve to be in the halls of power — he abused his power so tragically.”

He has to go.

https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article232432722.html

As part of her work, Ms. Brown tried to persuade law enforcement officials and women with allegations against Mr. Epstein to speak with her. Some resisted, she said, afraid that she would focus on the more salacious elements, or that her reporting would never make it to publication. She was told the story was stale. But as she looked into the prosecution of Mr. Epstein that led to his imprisonment last decade, Ms. Brown discovered that, in 2007, Mr. Acosta led a team of federal lawyers who secretly negotiated a deal that granted the financier immunity from federal sex trafficking charges.

This is a search for the truth,” Ms. Brown said. “This is about sexual abuse and power and people who cover it up. Sexual abuse doesn’t discriminate on political party.”

On Monday, at Mr. Epstein’s bail hearing, she got the closest she has ever been to the man she had spent years investigating. Seeing him seated before the judge in a blue prison jumpsuit, she thought he looked small.


#395

The splintering of sides…it is pervasive. Conservative tv and radio spouting off on how much certain dems/liberals must hate America…

That interview came during the 8 p.m. hour. At about the same time, over on Fox News — a network Trump was much more likely to have been watching — Tucker Carlson was presenting his own assessment of the problems with America.

“The Democratic candidates for president are on the road this week telling voters that the United States is an awful country,” Carlson said, coming back from a commercial break. “Of all the lies these people tell — and there are many — this is the most absurd,” he continued. “In fact, the United States is the kindest, most open-minded place on the planet. The U.S. has done more for other people and received less in return than any nation in history by far.”

He singled out the example of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who immigrated to the United States from Somalia as a refugee when she was a child. She became a citizen and, last year, was elected to Congress.

"Ilhan Omar has an awful lot to be grateful for, but she isn’t grateful,” Carlson said. “Not at all. After everything America has done for Omar and for her family, she hates this country more than ever.”


#396

In this op-ed, Goldie Taylor pulls no punches. She says it like it is.

The president is a racist, in his words and his actions.

Before you go clutching your pearls and extolling the virtues of “civility,” let me say this: Put a sock in it.

This is not a new revelation, nor is it something that we can continue to ignore as though it were coming from a drunk uncle at the family barbecue. Bigotry is dangerous and, in the hands of our nation’s commander in chief, it can mean an inability to recognize individual humanity and a failure to act with moral authority in times of crisis. …

On Sunday, he claimed that newly elected progressive Democrats “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and “the worst, more corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.” And he told freshmen Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar—outspoken Democratic women of color who have challenged the administration’s inhumane immigration policies—to leave the country.

Three of the four were born here in the United States. All are American citizens, and duly elected members of Congress.

Certainly, this is not the first time Trump has shamelessly revealed himself in public. His “Make America Great Again” campaign was always about catering to our lowest common denominator—a hateful sector of the electorate that believes themselves culturally superior by skin color and religion.

Trump is not a fine person. His words Sunday were not racially “charged,” “fueled,” or “tinged.” They were unapologetically racist.

And, if you support him, so are you.


#397

Boom


(David Bythewood) #398

It’s National Disability Voter Registration Week. 20% of voters have a connection with the disability community. Making sure their voices are heard is crucial to our democracy. For more resources, check out @AAPD.


#399

The Washington Post: George Conway: Trump is a racist president

To this day, I can remember almost the precise spot where it happened: a supermarket parking lot in eastern Massachusetts. It was the mid-1970s; I was not yet a teenager, or barely one. I don’t remember exactly what precipitated the woman’s ire. But I will never forget what she said to my mother, who had come to this country from the Philippines decades before. In these words or something close, the woman said, “Go back to your country.”

I remember the incident well, but it never bothered me all that much. Nor did racial slurs, which, thankfully, were rare. None of it was troublesome, to my mind, because most Americans weren’t like that. The woman in the parking lot was just a boor, an ignoramus, an aberration. America promised equality. Its constitution said so. My schoolbooks said so. The country wasn’t perfect, to be sure. But its ideals were. And every day brought us closer to those ideals.
To a young boy, it seemed like long ago that a descendant of slaves had prophesied, five days before I was born, that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” We would be there soon enough, if we weren’t there already. I couldn’t understand why colleges required applicants to check boxes for race or ethnicity. I’m also part Irish and Scottish. What box should I check? Should I check one at all? Will that help me or hurt me? Never mind, not to worry, those boxes would someday soon be gone.

How naive a child could be. The woman in the parking lot — there were many more like her, it turned out. They never went away. Today they attend rallies, and they post ugliness on Facebook or Twitter. As for the victims of historic racial oppression, no matter how much affirmative action (or reverse discrimination, or whatever you want to call it) the nation offered, they, too, had resentments that never went away — in part because of people like the parking-lot woman. Those resentments often led to more, not fewer, charges of racism as the years passed — charges of institutional racism and “white privilege.”

Which, in turn, bred another kind of resentment: Why, asked many an unaffluent white parent, who may never have uttered a racial slur or whose ancestors may never have held anyone in bondage, does my child have to check a box to her detriment, or be accused of “white privilege,” when the only privilege she has received came from the sweat of my brow? Why are people like me being called racist, when all I’ve done was mind my own business?

What’s just as bad, though, is the virtual silence from Republican leaders and officeholders. They’re silent not because they agree with Trump. Surely they know better. They’re silent because, knowing that he’s incorrigible, they have inured themselves to his wild statements; because, knowing that he’s a fool, they don’t really take his words seriously and pretend that others shouldn’t, either; because, knowing how damaging Trump’s words are, the Republicans don’t want to give succor to their political enemies; because, knowing how vindictive, stubborn and obtusely self-destructive Trump is, they fear his wrath.

But none of that is good enough. Trump is not some random, embittered person in a parking lot — he’s the president of the United States. By virtue of his office, he speaks for the country. What’s at stake now is more important than judges or tax cuts or regulations or any policy issue of the day. What’s at stake are the nation’s ideals, its very soul.


(David Bythewood) #400

What’s Stronger Than a Blue Wave? Gerrymandered Districts