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#461

I am a liberal and check what the WSJ says (when they give a 2 months for $1 deal)

It is easy to see how inflamed conservatives get with their across the board, very black-and-white take on “no collusion,” with the Russians and therefore Nadler is reaching for straws when it comes to impeachment.

But the bile, mistruths and reflexive 'there is no there there"…is appalling. The bitterness towards the Congressional Dept heads…Nadler, Cummings, Pelosi and not mentioned here but always a target Rep Maxine Waters, is staggering.

And the letters to the Editor are even worse…fortunately there are some liberals defending the cause to oust T.

Anyway…food for thought…know thy enemy.

The Impeachment Motions - WSJ
The Editorial Board

Democratic presidential candidates issued a gusher of words over three hours Thursday night, but one they didn’t utter was “impeachment.” That was no accident. The polls show the cause is a political loser, and maybe someone should tell Jerrold Nadler.

The House Judiciary Chairman is still trying to persuade voters that he has Donald Trump in his impeachment sights. Russian collusion wasn’t real, obstruction of justice didn’t fly, and payments to Stormy Daniels sound too much like lying about sex (and Bill Clinton ). So now Mr. Nadler is back to the old stand of arguing that Mr. Trump is enriching himself while in office.

This isn’t likely to go anywhere either, but it’s worth parsing the latest accusations to explain why. Democrats are investigating whether the Defense Department has been propping up struggling Glasgow Prestwick airport in Scotland to help the nearby Trump Turnberry golf resort. In a letter to then Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings noted the Pentagon has bought $11 million of fuel from Prestwick since October 2017. He also demanded details about a few Air Force crew members who stayed at Turnberry on a stopover this year.
The Prestwick airport, which is owned by the Scottish government, is struggling and its presence helps the Trump resort. But the Pentagon signed its contract with Prestwick in October 2016—before Mr. Trump was elected. Maybe Mr. Nadler should call Barack Obama as a witness.

As for the Turnberry stopover, the Air Force says seven active-duty and National Guard members stayed at the Trump resort on the way to Kuwait but stayed at a Marriott on the way back. The Air Force says the crew made its reservation through a defense travel system and used the “closest available” and “least expensive” accommodations to the airfield; the Trump resort was cheaper than the Marriott; and both properties were under the per diem travel rate of $166 a night. The Air Force says crews have stayed in the area 659 times over the past four years, and only 6% went to Turnberry.

The bigger problem with the Trump-enrichment narrative is that there doesn’t seem to be much enriching, as the press has been reporting for two years. Mr. Trump’s many controversies have caused companies from Macy’s to Wayfair to cease selling Trump brands. NBC dropped the Miss USA pageant.

Newsweek reported at the end of 2017 that an analysis by currency service FairFX found that room rates across the Trump empire had plummeted in 2017 by “as much as 63% since he moved into the White House,” as bookings tanked. Among those hardest hit was the Turnberry property; the price of a room fell 57% from January 2017 to January 2018. These decreases, said FairFX CEO Ian Stafford-Taylor, “suggest that it doesn’t necessarily pay to be president.”

Financial filings show that the Trump organization’s two Scottish golf courses continue to lose millions of dollars. Mr. Trump’s 2018 federal financial disclosure showed a modest revenue increase (less than $500,000) at his Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., which has become a new favorite venue for conservative events.

Then again, revenue fell $3 million at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, perhaps due to organizations boycotting Trump properties. Overall, the President reported an $18 million drop in minimum revenue (to $434 million) compared to 2017. Mr. Trump isn’t a pauper, but the figures suggest he’s far from benefitting from the Presidency.

Mr. Trump has fed Democratic suspicion by refusing to release his tax returns. And he is his own worst enemy when he brags about his properties or proposes hosting next year’s G-7 summit at his Doral resort. The latter is a bad idea for appearance’s sake alone, but claiming it violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution is implausible. If Mr. Nadler has evidence of genuine corruption or self-dealing, he ought to produce it.

Until he does, the corruption claims look like more political spin to con liberal voters into believing that House Democrats are serious about impeachment. Mr. Nadler went through an elaborate faux drama this week to hold a vote on the parameters of an impeachment probe, but if he were serious he’d demand a vote endorsing his efforts on the House floor as the GOP did in 1998 with Mr. Clinton.

That hasn’t happened because Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to protect swing-district Democrats from a risky vote. Mr. Nadler, for all his bravado, is merely going through the impeachment motions.


(David Bythewood) #462

Why Are Judges So Concerned About the Future Potential of Rapists?

A judge in New Jersey sparked outrage by giving a 16-year-old alleged sexual abuser a slap on the wrist, citing his sterling academic record


(David Bythewood) #463

Justice Sotomayor warns the Supreme Court is doing “extraordinary” favors for Trump

The Trump regime thinks the court is its personal fixer. The court isn’t doing much to disabuse it of this idea.


#464

THIS

It was chaos, and then a real lawyer showed up

The real excitement came, however, after the media decided it was all chaos and Democrats had accomplished nothing. Democrats’ counsel Barry Berke got 30 minutes to question Lewandowski and made the most of it.

Here’s what he accomplished:

  1. Berke forced Lewandowski to acknowledge that when he said on national television multiple times he would “voluntarily” appear before special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, that was false. Berke demonstrated Lewandowski also lied when he said on TV he had not been asked to testify. Lewandowski asserted he had no obligation to tell the media (and the public) the truth.

  2. Berke made plain that Lewandowski took the Fifth and refused to testify for the special counsel unless granted immunity. He also showed Lewandowski clips of him publicly stating that when you take the Fifth, you’ve done something wrong.

  3. Berke established that before asking Lewandowski to take a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the White House just so happened to dangle a White House job before him.

  4. Berke established that Lewandowski was absolutely loyal to Trump yet never deliveredthe message.

  5. Berke also established that Lewandowski wanted to have a private meeting with Sessions so there would be no record.

In short, Berke made perfectly clear that Lewandowski’s actions (refusing to deliver Trump’s instructions, demanding immunity, lying on TV, creating no record) demonstrated he knew he was being asked to do something wrong or illegal.


#465

Wow. This just made me angry and depressed. Hey, CNN, don’t tell us how we feel. Do you think we’re going to let one arrogant punk stand in the way of justice?

Cite Lewandowski for contempt. He cannot claim “executive privilege.” He’s flat out obstructing justice – a performance obviously orchestrated by the very person being investigated. We need more of these hearings. America needs to see, first hand, Trump’s co-conspirators obstructing justice. Don’t let them pretend they are being “persecuted” – they are covering up the President’s crimes.

Show some guts, Democrats, and hit the beaches.


#466

Profile of a impeachment tableau. I really enjoyed this piece.


(David Bythewood) #467

The Incredible Belief That Corporate Ownership Does Not Influence Media Content


#468

Publisher of NYT makes an impassioned plea to this administration and everyone to defend journalists around the world…and defend the freedom of the press.

Those of us leading The Times find it hard not to worry, knowing we have colleagues on the ground where war is raging, disease is spreading and conditions deteriorating. But we’ve long taken comfort in knowing that in addition to all our own preparations and all our own safeguards, there has always been another, critical safety net: the United States government, the world’s greatest champion of the free press.

Over the last few years, however, something has dramatically changed. Around the globe, a relentless campaign is targeting journalists because of the fundamental role they play in ensuring a free and informed society. To stop journalists from exposing uncomfortable truths and holding power to account, a growing number of governments have engaged in overt, sometimes violent, efforts to discredit their work and intimidate them into silence.

This is a worldwide assault on journalists and journalism. But even more important, it’s an assault on the public’s right to know, on core democratic values, on the concept of truth itself. And perhaps most troubling, the seeds of this campaign were planted right here, in a country that has long prided itself on being the fiercest defender of free expression and a free press.

Around the world, the threat journalists face is far more visceral. Last year was the most dangerous year on record to be a journalist, with dozens killed, hundreds imprisoned and untold thousands harassed and threatened. Those include Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered and dismembered by Saudi assassins, and Maksim Borodin, a Russian journalist who fell to his death from the balcony of his apartment after revealing the Kremlin’s covert operations in Syria.

The hard work of journalism has long carried risks, especially in countries without democratic safeguards. But what’s different today is that these brutal crackdowns are being passively accepted and perhaps even tacitly encouraged by the president of the United States.

This country’s leaders have long understood that the free press is one of America’s greatest exports. Sure, they’d complain about our coverage and bristle at the secrets we brought to light. But even as domestic politics and foreign policy would change, a baseline commitment to protecting journalists and their rights would remain.


(David Bythewood) #469

How to run a business that supports your employees:

This CEO raised the minimum salary of his employees to $70k and now he’s doing it again


#470

:pushpin: from May. Must read, even if it’s just a pipe dream. I’d really enjoy seeing the return of the Sargent at Arms to a more prominent public position, as intended by our constitution. :smirk:


#471

___________________________________________________________________
Bloomberg

A Special Counsel Must Investigate Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr

The whistle-blower’s complaint raises serious allegations about the president’s personal lawyer and his attorney general.

By
Noah Feldman

September 27, 2019, 4:00 AM PDT
___________________________________________________________________

Believe it or not, it’s time for a new special counsel investigation.

Not targeting Donald Trump himself: Congress can and will investigate the president in the course of its impeachment inquiry.

But as a result of the whistle-blower complaint, a separate investigation does need to get underway immediately. The Department of Justice must investigate Rudy Giuliani’s potential crimes in trying to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election. It also needs to investigate whether White House officials criminally covered up evidence of Trump’s call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

And because the whistleblower complaint alleges that the top law enforcement official in the federal government, Attorney General William Barr, “appears to be involved” in these events, a special counsel must be appointed. Barr obviously must recuse himself: He has a conflict of interest and, more to the point, he is a potential target of the criminal investigation.

To be clear, Congress should not wait on the results of this special counsel investigation to continue its own inquiries. That’s unnecessary, because Congress is appropriately focused on whether Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors, not on whether anyone else may have committed a federal crime. It would also obviously be absurd to put a hold on the congressional inquiry to wait for a Department of Justice investigation to conclude.

But a special investigation is needed because Congress does not have the expertise or the jurisdiction to go after criminal conduct by Giuliani, a private citizen. Nor could it investigate Barr’s conduct in any context other than the separate impeachment inquiry into Trump.

These investigations need federal prosecutors and FBI agents. And they need them right now.

Begin with Giuliani. The whistleblower complaint alleges that in January and February of 2019, Giuliani met with Yuriy Lutsenko, who was then Ukraine’s prosecutor general. These meetings preceded Lutsenko’s initiative in March to publish articles in The Hill in which he aired the allegations that Trump eventually asked Zelensky to investigate — allegations about Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as about the supposed origins of the allegation of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia in 2016.

A special counsel investigation is needed to determine first whether Giuliani suggested the topic of these articles to Lutsenko, or whether Lutsenko pitched the ideas to Giuliani. Regardless, it seems likely that Giuliani, who was already representing Trump in a personal capacity, was engaged in some form of coordination with Lutsenko. That could easily give rise to a criminal charge of conspiracy to influence the outcome of the 2020 election.

Subsequently, Giuliani had many further contacts with Lutsenko and other Ukrainian officials, according to the whistleblower complaint. All of these need to be investigated, too.

As for the cover-up investigation, I explained yesterday that the whistleblower complaint includes at least three separate acts taken by unnamed White House officials to suppress information about the Trump-Zelenskiy call. Those must be investigated by a special counsel to determine if they constituted criminal obstruction of justice.

Barr cannot be involved in this investigation, nor can any special counsel be answerable to him. The whistleblower complaint suggests that Barr “appears” to have been involved in the whole affair. On its own, that allegation would be enough to require recusal.

But there’s much more to it than that. We know that Trump himself invoked Barr repeatedly in his call with Zelenskiy, linking Giuliani’s efforts to an investigation he claimed Barr was undertaking. When the president of the United States tells the president of a foreign government that the attorney general is involved something, in the course of a phone call in which he appears to abuse the public trust, the attorney general can’t be involved in the investigation.

It isn’t sufficient for Barr to say that he wasn’t engaged in any investigation on Trump’s behalf. Nor would it suffice for Barr to say that he was conducting a perfectly lawful investigation into the origins of the allegation that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. A prosecutor who is implicated in a crime can’t refuse to recuse himself by simply asserting that he’s innocent. That’s not how recusal works. Even if Barr were completely innocent, he would have to recuse himself to preserve the appearance of impartiality.

Even though the target of this special investigation would not be Trump, it’s entirely possible that such an investigation might find evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the president. Under current Justice Department guidelines, no prosecution could take place while Trump was in office. Nevertheless, Trump will eventually no longer be president, whether by impeachment and removal, losing an election, or finishing a second term in office. Any then, any criminal findings by the special counsel with respect to Trump would be very much open for prosecution.

Barr has had plenty of time to recuse himself from this matter, but has not done so. That is shameful and, IMO, makes him look guilty of being part of an ongoing cover up. Or as Pelosi put it, “A cover up of the cover up.”


(David Bythewood) #472

Holy moly. Alabama needs to get its act together. Wow.


#473

John Solomon, who started the false Biden accusations, exits The Hill - Colleagues ashamed of him

The one “journalist” that Trump and Giuliani keep referencing to prop up their lies about the Bidens has resigned in disgrace from his post at The Hill.

The takeaway from this article is that Solomon’s resignation was forced by management. In other words, he was allowed to save face by not being fired, but he had no choice except to leave. There was a virtual revolt in the newsroom – anger directed at him for his shoddy reporting combined with shame for being associated with him.

Beltway-centric newspaper The Hill employs a team of dozens of journalists from a variety of backgrounds. But only one has managed to alienate many of his colleagues, fuel the paranoia of Fox News viewers, and inadvertently play a key role in the whistleblower complaint and President Donald Trump’s potential impeachment.

Over the past several years, John Solomon, a long-time journalist with bylines at the Washington Post , the Associated Press, and Newsweek/The Daily Beast, has pivoted to becoming the Trumpian right’s favorite “investigative reporter.”

And now, thanks to several mentions in the whistleblower’s complaint, his work has come under intense scrutiny following the revelation that a series of his stories about Ukraine, along with his Fox News appearances promoting them, may have led to the president asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to team up with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate the Biden family.

Over the past several months, and with the benefit of substantial airtime from Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity, Solomon has peddled a series of Ukraine-based conspiracy theories and allegations that have primarily taken aim at two of Trumpworld’s biggest targets: Biden and Hillary Clinton.

In the process, his questionable reporting, which often seems specifically tailored to stoke the flames of right-wing paranoia, has enraged many of his colleagues at The Hill who have for years seen his tactics and reporting as overtly ideological, convoluted, and often lacking in crucial context.

The Washington Post reported that more than a dozen staffers wrote a memo specifically criticizing Solomon’s handling of the story about Trump’s alleged harassment victims, which they said omitted the important context that seeking donor support is neither a new practice nor is it unique to one political party. The staffers also expressed dismay about other stories, including the Uranium One deal, and noted that Solomon’s work often negatively colored the way some important sources viewed engaging with The Hill .

Earlier this month, Solomon announced that he will leave The Hill to create his own start-up media firm. …


(David Bythewood) #474

America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy

When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy


#475

Spot on commentary by Robert Reich, Clinton’s Secretary of Labor. He’s one of my “heroes of democracy.” He always speaks sensibly, thinking through issues and using facts to back up logic. I wish in future he could reprise his role as a Cabinet member.


#476

Trump can’t name a single corruption investigation he’s requested that isn’t about a political rival

To hear President Donald Trump tell it, his desire to get foreign governments like Ukraine and China to open investigations into the Biden family is all about principled corruption concerns, not politics.

“I don’t care about Biden’s campaign, but I do care about corruption,” Trump told reporters outside the White House Friday. “I believe there was tremendous corruption with Biden … we are looking at corruption, we are not looking at politics.”

Trump went as far as to insist “this is about corruption” or a close variant of that statement six times in less than 40 seconds.

But all it took was one question from CNBC’s Eamon Javers to destroy his talking point.

“Have you asked foreign leaders for any corruption investigations that don’t involve your political opponents?” Javers asked.

The answer, it quickly became apparent, was no — even if Trump didn’t want to admit it.

You know, we would have to look, but I tell you — what I ask for, and what I always will ask for, is anything having to do with corruption with respect to our country,” Trump said, dissembling. “If a foreign country can help us with respect to corruption, and corruption probes — I don’t care if it’s Biden or anybody else.”

Bottom Line: Trump claims he’s pushing foreign governments to dig up corruption everywhere, not just on his political rivals. Yet he can’t name one case, not even one, where he is investigating corruption that does NOT involve the Bidens.

And, BTW, there is absolutely no evidence that the Bidens did anything wrong – it’s much more likely that Trump wants foreign governments to fabricate corruption charges against the Bidens – in exchange for favors from U.S. taxpayers.

Watch Trump reveal his “I’m-investigating-corruption-everywhere” lie in the first 30 seconds of this CNN panel:


#477

The title says it all. Last week, we found out Trump was assisting Putin by delaying military aid to Ukraine, a country that Russia has placed under siege. This week Trump hands Syria to Russia, while betraying the Kurds who have made untold sacrifices in the fight against ISIS.

President Trump has clearly been itching to leave Syria for months, once dubbing it nothing but “sand and death.” As Trump himself was at pains to point out, he was elected on a promise to get out of “these ridiculous endless wars.”

But the speed of his decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria threatens to wreck almost every goal the US has in the Middle East just now.

Firstly, the sudden withdrawal of US forces – designed to leave their erstwhile allies the Syrian Kurds as exposed to a Turkish advance as possible – comes just as a regrouping by ISIS was taking shape.

ISIS was founded in a vacuum – the turmoil of Syria’s civil war – and in a vacuum it will return.

Secondly, Trump’s decision will be a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Before joining the US coalition against ISIS, the Syrian Kurds have long had an easy accommodation with Damascus. As Trump has long telegraphed his desire to leave the region, they presumably have regime officials in Damascus on speed-dial, knowing this moment would someday come.

Indeed, US officials have recently noticed Russian-backed patrols around Manbij, a city to the west, perhaps testing the waters.

The Syrian regime has long sought to recapture Deir Ezzor, a former ISIS bastion in northeast Syria held by Kurdish-led forces. The departure of US forces, and the concurrent loss of essential air cover they provided, will leave Damascus and Moscow with a gentle choice between striking a political deal with the Syrian Kurds, or just wearing them down with military pressure until they fall in the face of superior Russian firepower.

Thirdly, Iran will also benefit.

The tiny US presence in northern Syria, and the aerial surveillance that came with it, acted as a block to one of Tehran’s most useful acquisitions in past years – an almost clear run of friendly territory from its borders to its allies in Lebanon.

That gap will now fill with Iranian backed militia, friendly Syrian regime forces, and Russian mercenaries. This outcome may not have occurred to Trump in his late-night chat with Erdogan, but it may be the longer term consequence of his decision.


(David Bythewood) #478






(David Bythewood) #479

This article talks about the mental bias by which we tend to weigh things that are secret, or that we’re told are secret, more heavily than things that are widespread or public knowledge, and how it relates to Trump’s recent public cries for China to investigate the Bidens.

The Two Psychological Tricks Trump Is Using to Get Away With Everything

His brazen attempts to redefine the norms of acceptable conduct work for a reason.


(David Bythewood) #480

Study: U.S. Gun Deaths Surge, Except for Two States With Restrictive Gun Laws

A thread: