October 23, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 8:55 PM

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN:

Attorney for indicted Giuliani associate says evidence in case could be subject to executive privilege (The Week, 10/23/19)

A lawyer for Lev Parnas, one of two associates of Rudy Giuliani accused of illegally funneling money into U.S. elections, told a federal judge on Wednesday some of the evidence collected in his client's case could be subject to executive privilege.

Posted by orrinj at 6:44 PM

KEEPING COLORADANS OUT OF KANSAS!


Posted by orrinj at 6:33 PM

WHERE'S ANTIFA WHEN YOU NEED THEM:


Posted by orrinj at 5:51 PM

THAT'S THEIR MISSION:

ICE officer who drove truck into Jewish protesters won't be charged with a crime (JTA, 10/23/19)

A grand jury declined to indict a former US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer who drove his truck into a row of Jewish protesters at an ICE detention center.

Posted by orrinj at 3:51 PM

HECK, TREASON IS THE GOP BRAND NOWADAYS:

House Republicans May Have Committed Some Light Treason (JIM SWIFT, OCTOBER 23, 2019, The Bulwark)

If you've never been in a SCIF, and 99.9 percent of Americans have not, it's basically like being put in a rubber room prison that's wrapped in a Faraday Cage. The whole point of the SCIF is that nothing gets in and nothing gets out that isn't planned and accounted for. There are a few hundred of these facilities scattered throughout official Washington--the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon obviously need them--but only a couple on the Hill.

You are not, under any circumstances, supposed to bring electronic devices into a SCIF. You can understand why. Members of Congress are not like the president, getting their phones rigorously checked by security personnel for signs of compromise. The device protocol for the average member of Congress aren't that much more security-conscious than your mom's.

So, in an effort to defend President Trump, Gaetz and company stormed the SCIF to disrupt the hearing and they didn't just byob their own devices--they used them to show off on Twitter. [...]

[A]s Mieke Eoyang, a former congressional staffer who worked on national security issues, put it this way: House Republicans endangered national security in an attempt to cover for President Trump.

In fairness, Mr. Sondland already perjured himself because he didn't know what honest witnesses were saying, so you can see why the Trumpbots want to try and protect other loyalists.

Posted by orrinj at 12:47 PM

RUDY BETTER RUN:


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

THE ONLY EXISTENTIAL THREAT IS INTERNAL:

Capitulation to Jewish Settlers Has Enabled Violence Against Soldiers, Defense Officials Say  (Yaniv Kubovich, Oct 23, 2019, Ha'aretz)


Officials in the defense establishment say that Israel's military policy in the West Bank is often dictated by settlement leaders 'to benefit the Jewish population' rather than by security considerations. [...]

The officials added that settler leaders have put heavy pressure on the government, thereby undermining the army's status in the territories and enabling violence against members of the security services.

"It's expressed as an atmosphere that everything's allowed," said one senior officer involved in the defense establishment's conversations with government officials.

In recent years, defense officials said, settlement leaders have gained more power over the government, and they have waged a persistent battle against the defense establishment's policies through their representatives in the Knesset. This has led the government to capitulate to settler interests at the expense of defense considerations, the officials said.

What government?

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

GROVEL MORE, LINDSEY:

Trump Whines That Senate Republicans Are Failing Him on Impeachment and Not Owning Nearly Enough Libs (Sam Stein, Asawin Suebsaeng, Justin Baragona, 10.23.19, Daily Beast)

[H]is top allies should come in to run interference. In particular, there is growing frustration that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has not yet called hearings into the issues that sparked Trump's interest in Ukraine: Joe Biden's alleged and unfounded attempts to aid a business whose board his son sat on as well as  a conspiracy theory that links Ukraine with 2016 election meddling. 

"Senate Republicans don't have to defend Trump on everything, they just have to do their jobs," said one senior Trump operative. "Part of that is holding hearings, calling witnesses, and forcing testimony on the misdeeds we already know about--Ukraine's interference in the 2016 election against Trump, the Clinton campaign paying foreign sources to fabricate a dossier against Trump, the politically driven Kavanaugh smear campaign, the son of the former vice president influence-trading overseas, Adam Schiff trying to obtain dirt on Trump from the Ukrainian embassy, and more. What good is controlling half of Congress if Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff get to run the whole show anyway?"

The complaints have come from the top down. One source who spoke to Trump in the past two weeks said that the president wondered aloud why Republican lawmakers couldn't be more like people such as Tom Fitton--the Judicial Watch president who Trump regularly watches on Fox and often excitedly tweets about--when defending him against the impeachment inquiry. And in public, Trump has increasingly let his dissatisfaction with Republican Senate leadership and others be known.

They may as well hold show trials; it's not as if they have any decency or honor left to squander.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

WHO NEEDS THEM!:

Support for impeaching Trump soars among independents - Reuters/Ipsos poll (Chris Kahn, 10/23/19, Reuters)

The Oct. 18-22 poll showed public opinion continued to shift as Americans digested a flurry of news over the past several weeks stemming from the congressional impeachment inquiry and Trump's decision to pull troops from northern Syria.

Overall, 46% of Americans said they supported impeachment and 40% said they opposed it.

Support for impeachment was relatively steady among Republicans and Democrats over the past week but it surged among independents, a group that includes people who neither identify as Democrats nor Republicans and do not favor either party when they vote.

Among independents, 45% said in the latest poll they supported impeachment and 32% said they opposed it, the strongest level of support recorded in more than a year.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

THE FRENCHNESS OF THE rIGHT VS THE FRENCHISM OF cONSERVATISM::

What Lord Acton Can Teach Us about Nationalism (KAI WEISS, 10/17/19, Law & Liberty)

A little-known 1862 work called Nationality by Lord Acton can perhaps shed new light, too, on the topic. For Acton, there are two types of nationality: the one of 1688, the other of 1789, i.e., English or French nationalism, which "are connected in name only, and are in reality the opposite extremes of political thought."

French nationalism arose during the French Revolution, though this version would wreak havoc for much longer in Europe and still, some would argue, does to this day. Acton's main issue with this type of nationality is its utopian and idealist character, by elevating one's imaginary construct of the nation above anything else.

As all readers of Edmund Burke know (and Acton was certainly among them), the revolutionaries of 1789 broke not only with the ancien regime but with any tradition, with any notion of a history of France, that had existed before. Instead, a fully new concept would have to be implemented, though this "was no longer France, but some unknown country to which the nation was transported." As "every effaceable trace and relic of national history was carefully wiped away, ... France was no longer bounded by the limits she had received from the condemned influence of her history." A vision of French greatness in which this nation was to be more glorious than anything else was to be made a reality. On the path to this French greatness, the centralized power had the legitimacy to get rid of everything that stood in its way.

For the first time in history, "the notion of an abstract nationality" was expressed, as "nationality became a paramount claim, which was to assert itself alone," and which "was to prevail at the expense of every other cause." And as those in power were striving to national greatness, all others, that is, those that compose the nation, were made subject to an absolute ruler - it was more important to reach this ideal than anything else.

This "modern theory of nationality," as Acton called it, could eventually go much further down the path of despotism. To achieve this arbitrary conception of the nation, everything not considered fitting to it would need to be swept away. In a remarkable prediction of what would happen if this theory was to be taken to its extreme, Acton said that the extermination -- or at least servitude -- of what was deemed an inferior race would be the consequence. This eventually happened in fascist Germany, where, with the goal of achieving national supremacy and uniting the Germans -- everyone else, every un-German element would have to make way -- as well as other nations whose land and resources were deemed essential for German hegemony. In this sense, Hitler was a nationalist.

There is, however, another version of nationality for Acton, one that is liberal - and "its model would be England." This theory, "which represents nationality as an essential, but not a supreme element in determining the forms of the State," is described by Acton as follows:

It is distinguished from the other [the French version], because it tends to diversity and not to uniformity, to harmony and not to unity; because it aims not at an arbitrary change, but at careful respect for the existing conditions of political life, and because it obeys the laws and results of history, not the aspirations of an ideal future. While the theory of unity makes the nation a source of despotism and revolution, the theory of liberty regards it as the bulwark of self-government, and the foremost limit to the excessive power of the State.

This concept of nationhood arises from the past, building off of the nation's successes and learning from its mistakes. It is backward looking because it cherishes its history and doesn't bulldoze over traditions but prides itself in them. It is also progressive, though, in the sense that it wants to carry on this history, though with humility to the whole, not by pursuing a utopian ideal. This community comes into being naturally, from the bottom-up, indeed, from the heart of each individual, where one sees it as one's obligation to care for one's fellow people because the individual realizes he or she is part of a tradition that precedes them. Edmund Burke famously referred to this as "a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born."

Perhaps most importantly, this nation has to constitute a bulwark for liberty, not against it.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

TOO TOXIC TO TRUMPET:

Once a point of pride, Trump name reportedly scrubbed from New York ice rinks (Mario Koran, 22 Oct 2019, The Guardian)

 The Trump organization has removed the president's name from his two New York City ice skating rinks in Central Park. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Donald Trump appears to be getting the cold shoulder from his own ice skating rinks, after the Trump organization reportedly took the unusual step of removing the president's name from the two Central Park businesses ahead of the holiday season.

First reported by the Washington Post, city officials said the decision to remove Trump's name in recent weeks was taken by the Trump organization but that the company has not offered a reason. His company still owns the skating rinks, which is among his oldest businesses, but it's the first time Trump's own organization has attempted to downplay the connection between the president and his businesses.

He is his own Confederate statue.
Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

GARDEN VARIETY INCELS:

Taliban fighters in makeup: Barbican to show rare pictures (Mark Brown, 23 Oct 2019, The Guardian)

They are probably the least likely men to ever be willingly pictured in heavy makeup, painted nails and holding plastic flowers against a kitsch background of Swiss Alpine chalets.

But pictured they were, all gun-toting Taliban fighters often holding hands and posing for photographs which will be shown in a UK exhibition for the first time next year, the Barbican has announced.

The photographs were found in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2002 by the Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak.

They are "visually arresting," said Barbican curator Alona Pardo, and remarkable because they are real. "These are not constructed photographs, these men have chosen to have the photographs made and present themselves to camera like that. It just shows you the agency of images to destabilise our perceptions."

Most likely.
Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

THE RED HAT IS THE RED FLAG:

Tulsi Gabbard is getting a boost from conservatives online (Sara Fischer, 10/22/19, Axios)


Comments by Gabbard condemning members of her own party have garnered her lots of attention from far-right figures, which explains some of the increased attention she is receiving on platforms like Reddit, 4chan and Gab.  [...]

Between the lines: "We are seeing commentary pushing the idea of a Yang/Gabbard ticket, especially on 4chan," says Storyful Senior Journalist Catherine Sanz, who pulled the data.

Gabbard has gained traction among prominent Yang Gang fan pages, per Sanz.
Caroline Orr, a research analyst and reporter, noted via Twitter yesterday that Tulsi-related hashtags "are getting boosted by YangGang, which is made up of a lot of MAGA fans."

October 22, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 9:11 PM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

EXCLUSIVE: We Asked Every Senator In The GOP About Impeachment. Seven Ruled It Out. (JUSTIN CARUSO AND HENRY RODGERS, October 22, 2019, Daily Caller)


The Caller contacted all 53 Republican Senate offices Monday and Tuesday to ask if senators would rule out voting to remove Trump from office, and received a variety of responses-seven senators explicitly rejected impeachment in their statement.

Posted by orrinj at 9:08 PM

IMPORTING THE SUPERIOR CULTURE:

An American Muslim imam's letter to the American Sikh community (Omar Suleiman, 10/22/19, RNS) 

When Hurricane Katrina struck my hometown of New Orleans in 2005, I was tasked with leading a major Muslim relief effort. While Katrina brought many sights I won't forget, one of the most enduring and treasured was members of United Sikhs, a humanitarian and civil rights nonprofit, bolting this way and that across the floor of the Superdome, which had been turned into a massive shelter, assisting distressed people with a zeal unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

This despite the fact that the Sikh community in New Orleans is minimal, and I can't recall seeing a single Sikh Katrina victim in any of the shelters.

In fact the Sikhs, though they are the fifth largest faith group in the world, number only a few hundred thousand members in the entire U.S., most of whom live around New York City and in California. But in this rising climate of xenophobia, especially Islamophobia, they have become easy targets. Bigots often mistake Sikhs for Muslims due to their highly visible turbans, beards and scarves.

Despite the real harm this has caused Sikhs, they have consistently refused to throw the Muslim community under the bus by simply distancing themselves from Islam.

You may have seen the video of Canadian New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, a candidate for prime minister, being heckled by a protester in 2017 for trying to "push Shariah" and being in "bed with the Muslim Brotherhood." His brother, Gurratan Singh, also a member of Parliament, went viral last month for how he handled an Islamophobic heckler outside a Muslim convention.

Gurratan tweeted afterward, "I will never respond to an Islamophobe by stating, 'I am not a Muslim.'"

Posted by orrinj at 8:30 PM

WHICH IS WHY YOU TAKE TESTIMONY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS:


Posted by orrinj at 8:27 PM

IT'S A RICO CASE:

Feds Charge Trump Donor Imaad Zuberi With Hiding Work as Foreign Agent (Erin Banco & Pilar Melendez, 10.22.19, Daily Beast)

A Los Angeles financier who donated $900,000 to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee has admitted to falsifying records to hide his work as a foreign agent while he lobbied prominent U.S. government officials, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Shah Zuberi, 49, also known as "Imaad Zuberi," has agreed to plead guilty to three counts in a criminal information for allegedly making almost $1 million in illegal campaign contributions, engaging in various lobbying efforts, and evading taxes, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California. 

Posted by orrinj at 5:23 PM

THERE IS NO BAD REASON TO REMOVE HIM:

Trump reportedly claimed to be 'in charge of the Hatch Act' (The Week, 10/22/19)

Back before his June rally in Orlando, Trump was pushing to bring Cabinet officials along to the event, which would launch his 2020 campaign, people present during the conversation tell the Journal. But Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly warned Trump against it, telling him it could result in violations of the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in certain political activities. Cabinet officials and reelection launch rallies would likely fall under that designation.

But Trump reportedly didn't care, telling Mulvaney "I'm in charge of the Hatch Act" while surrounded by other top aides. He then called Mulvaney "weak," the people in the room tell the Journal.

Posted by orrinj at 5:19 PM

THERE IS NO 4TH BRANCH (EXCEPT KIND-OF THE FED):

The Supreme Court Is Poised to Strike Down a Major Obama-Era Agency (ILYA SHAPIRO, October 21, 2019, National Review)

Worst of all, the CFPB exercises significant executive power, in addition to elements of legislative and judicial functions, in its field of consumer-finance regulation. This creates serious constitutional problems for an agency that is unaccountable to the political branches -- and, thus, to the people. The Constitution does not permit the unaccountable CFPB to exert such significant and varied power over an important aspect of American life.

Numerous lawsuits have rightly called the CFPB into question. In 2016, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, when he was still a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, joined that attack. In PHH Corp. v. CFPB, he wrote that "other than the president, the director of the CFPB is the single most powerful official in the entire United States government, at least when measured in terms of unilateral power." In his opinion in that case, Kavanaugh found the CFPB to be unconstitutional, before the "nuclear" D.C. Circuit reversed him en banc.

As long as the CFPB's constitutionality remains in doubt, businesses and individuals will struggle with how to conduct themselves in relation to the agency's mandates. And that goes for all the other ostensibly independent agencies whose regulatory tentacles have entangled the American economy in recent decades -- such as the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found unconstitutional just last month.

Earlier last week, the Supreme Court heard argument regarding a related constitutional defect with the financial-oversight board that Congress created to restructure Puerto Rico's debt. As I wrote in discussing that case, "constitutional structure is important; it's what ultimately secures our liberties and ensures that we have the rule of law, rather than man -- whether that be the president or the group of men and women in Congress, or both in collusion against our founding document."

Seila Law is thus a great case for resolving some of the problems of constitutional structure that recent legislation has introduced into our government. The Supreme Court should hold that the CFPB has insufficient checks on its power and send Congress back to the drawing board.

Posted by orrinj at 5:06 PM

ONLY HER FELLOW ASSETS DENY IT:

Bernie Sanders defends Tulsi Gabbard against Hillary Clinton's "outrageous" Russian asset allegation (SHIRA TARLO, OCTOBER 22, 2019, salon)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dismissed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's suggestion that fellow 2020 hopeful Tulsi Gabbard was a "Russian asset" as "outrageous."

Bernie Sanders' Trip To The Soviet Union Exposes Socialism's Blind Spots (Miriam Elder, July 11, 2019, Buzzfeed News)

In 1988, Ronald Reagan visited Moscow to finalize a key arms treaty as US-Russian relations continued to warm in what would be the waning days of the Cold War.

Just a couple weeks later, Bernie Sanders and nearly a dozen other Vermonters called a press conference to talk about their own recent trip to the Soviet Union -- 10 days in three cities, visits to schools and factories, and an authentic banya session, complete with vodka and patriotic singing. Sanders gushed about the Moscow Metro and the low price of theater in Yaroslavl, with which he was working to set up sister city status with Burlington, of which he was mayor. Reporters asked how much that would cost, and if anyone they met over there had thoughts about Sanders being a socialist (not realizing, perhaps, that by that time in the Soviet Union any ideological fervor was long gone). And then, just as everyone was ready to pack it in, a reporter asked, kind of quietly: "Of anybody you met, was anyone familiar with Vermont?" The reporter continued: "When you said you're from Vermont, they said, 'Oh yeah, Solzhenitsyn,' right?" [...]

By the time Sanders visited the USSR, though, Solzhenitsyn's stark accounts of the Gulag and Soviet cruelty had helped open a schism within the intellectual left about how to reconcile the brutal legacy of communism with the dream of socialist revolution. And by then, the American political visit to the Soviet Union had a long, tortured history of truth, belief, and deception. For decades, the USSR courted American dissidents -- many of whom had deep, correct criticisms of the US government's racist subjugation of black citizens -- and presented many with a false view of Soviet egalitarianism.

What were the odds that one of the most prominent Soviet dissidents was living in, of all places, Bernie Sanders's small state? The world felt bigger in the '80s, distances larger and borders harder to pierce. The country was split between those who thought the USSR posed the gravest threat to US security and values, and those who thought that was wildly overblown. Solzhenitsyn refused to be boxed in. In 1975, he gave two major speeches to the AFL-CIO denouncing communism (in Washington, he was introduced as "the single figure who has raised highest the flame of liberty"). Three years later, he gave the commencement address at Harvard -- a rousing call to the pursuit of truth but also a vicious indictment of his new home, with its ruthless capitalism and inequality, its addiction to pop culture, the flaws in its press and politicians. No one knew what to make of this man, who seemed to have harsh words for everything but God (he was deeply Russian Orthodox) and non-Soviet Russia (he was supremely nationalistic, which fueled accusations of anti-Semitism later in life, which his supporters denied).

"Truth seldom is pleasant," Solzhenitsyn told the Harvard graduates. "It is almost invariably bitter."


When Sanders returned from the Soviet Union, he talked of how impressed he was with what he felt to be people's openness to criticize their own society, but Solzhenitsyn remained blacklisted, his work banned, his exile in force. Five months after Sanders got back, the Kremlin's top ideologist said that "to publish Solzhenitsyn's work is to undermine the foundations on which our present life rests."

Despite living just a couple hours away from each other, Sanders and Solzhenitsyn never met.


Cultivating an Asset: How Donald Trump became the perfect candidate for Russia's assault on American democracy. (The Moscow Project)

Following its established playbook, Russia has increasingly interfered in the politics of traditional opponents throughout the West in the hopes of undermining democracy and stability from within. Donald Trump was a political novice with a longstanding public admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a penchant for advancing conspiracy theories. He espoused isolationist policies and had potentially compromising financial relationships with Kremlin-aligned oligarchs. He also had few apparent scruples and was running against a woman Putin considers among his main adversaries. Trump was simply an ideal candidate for the Kremlin to back. There is also reason to suspect that Russia began cultivating Trump as an asset long before his campaign for president, a common tactic the Kremlin pursues with people it suspects may be useful in the future.

Posted by orrinj at 4:55 PM

SO MUCH WINNING!:

Ex-ICE Chief on Congress and Border Security: 'They've Done Nothing' (Fred Lucas, October 22, 2019, Daily Signal)

"It's a shame in this day in America when the government of Mexico has done more to secure our border than the Democratic leadership of the Congress," Thomas Homan, former director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Tuesday at The Heritage Foundation's annual President's Club meeting in Washington.

 "That is just a stone cold fact," Homan said during a panel discussion on immigration reforms. "They have done nothing."

Always bet on the Deep State--the 80% of Americans who oppose closing the border.

Posted by orrinj at 4:51 PM

WHEN ALL YOU HAVE TO OFFER IS RACISM, DOUBLE DOWN:

Trump admin considering Chad Wolf, an architect of family separation, for DHS chief (Julia Ainsley, Katy Tur and Laura Strickler, 10/22/19, NBC News)

"Announce that DHS is considering separating family units, placing the adults in detention and placing minors under the age of 18 in the custody of HHS as unaccompanied alien children," Wolf wrote, referring to the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that would later be called on to shelter more than 2,800 children separated from their parents in 2018.

Also included on the list were policies that would speed up the deportation of children (which has not come to pass) and require immigrants to seek asylum in Mexico (which has since been announced).

Donald has to keep his 20% on board or there's no one left for him to depend on. Luckily, they're easily purchased.

Posted by orrinj at 4:49 PM

MRS. PENCE ISN'T DONE YET:

Anonymous Trump official who wrote New York Times op-ed has a book coming out (Jake Tapper, October 22, 2019, CNN)

The anonymous senior Trump administration official whose 2018 New York Times op-ed was called treasonous by President Donald Trump has written a new book about Trump titled "A Warning" that will be published next month, CNN has learned.

CNN has exclusively obtained a cover of the book, which has been a closely guarded secret until now and will be released November 19 by Twelve, a division of the Hachette Book Group. The author will remain anonymous, and sources familiar with the book tell CNN that "elaborate precautions have been taken to protect the author's identity."

Posted by orrinj at 4:46 PM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

Proud Boys Maxwell Hare, John Kinsman Sentenced to Four Years for Upper East Side Brawl (Kelly Weill, 10.22.19, Daily Beast)

Two members of the far-right group the Proud Boys were sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday, over their involvement in a Manhattan brawl last October. Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman were convicted this summer of attempted gang assault, attempted assault, and riot during an attack on anti-fascists after a speech by the Proud Boys' founder Gavin McInnes. Hare and Maxwell claimed they fought in self-defense, but security footage obtained by The New York Times revealed that Proud Boys initiated the attack. The footage shows Hare charging at and punching anti-fascists. A cellphone video from after the attack shows Hare and others boasting about attacking a "foreigner." 

Trumpism is as Trumpism does.



Posted by orrinj at 4:41 PM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

US' top diplomat Taylor was told Trump wanted aid withheld until Ukraine said it would investigate Biden (Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox, Kylie Atwood and Gloria Borger,  October 22, 2019, CNN)

The Top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor testified Tuesday that he had been told President Donald Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared investigations would be launched that could help his reelection chances -- including into former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a copy of Taylor's opening statement obtained by CNN.

"During that phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US election," according to the testimony.

Sondland told Taylor he'd also made a mistake earlier by telling the Ukrainian officials that a White House meeting with Zelensky "was dependent on a public announcement of the investigations," Taylor said.

"In fact, Ambassador Sondland said, 'everything' was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance," Taylor testified.

He testified that Trump wanted Zelensky "in a public box" by making a public statement about ordering the investigations.

Posted by orrinj at 4:21 AM

EVEN WITH ALL THE FAVORABLE PRESS TREATMENT...:

The embarrassing epilogue to the media's obsession with Hillary Clinton's emails (Ian Millhiser  Oct 22, 2019, Vox)

The State Department's report reaches two broad conclusions. Clinton's "use of a private email system to conduct official business added an increased degree of risk" that classified information would be compromised. But "there was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information."

In 2016, the State Department's inspector general also determined that Clinton's Republican predecessors, Secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, also received classified information on their personal email accounts.

So Clinton committed the same mistake committed by her predecessors -- Powell reportedly advised Clinton to use a personal email account for non-classified communications shortly after Clinton became secretary -- and the State Department's report found no systemic mishandling of information. [...]

As CJR later summarized this research, the Berkman Klein Center "found roughly four times as many Clinton-related sentences that described scandals as opposed to policies, whereas Trump-related sentences were one-and-a-half times as likely to be about policy as scandal." Indeed, emails so dominated coverage that "the various Clinton-related email scandals--her use of a private email server while secretary of state, as well as the DNC and John Podesta hacks--accounted for more sentences than all of Trump's scandals combined (65,000 vs. 40,000) and more than twice as many as were devoted to all of her policy positions."

Meanwhile, CJR researchers Duncan J. Watts and David M. Rothschild did a deep dive into how the New York Times covered 2016, and their findings are just as stark. "Of the 1,433 articles that mentioned Trump or Clinton," during the last 69 days of the 2016 campaign, "291 were devoted to scandals or other personal matters while only 70 mentioned policy, and of these only 60 mentioned any details of either candidate's positions."

One-hundred fifty of these New York Times articles, moreover, appeared on the paper's front page. Of these, only 16 discussed policy in any way, "of which six had no details, four provided details on Trump's policy only, one on Clinton's policy only, and five made some comparison between the two candidates' policies." By contrast, the Times ran 10 front-page articles on Clinton's emails in just six days, between October 29 and November 3.

The overarching impression created by this reporting, in other words, was that the emails were more important than all of the policy questions facing voters in 2016 -- questions like whether millions of Americans would lose health care, whether the United States would bar immigrants because of their religion, and who would control the Supreme Court.


...Donald performed worse in the primaries than any other eventual nominee and lost to Crooked Hillary by three million votes.  Which is why Mitch will remove him.



Posted by orrinj at 4:12 AM

THANKS, UR!:

Trump administration says Obamacare plan premiums to fall  (Reuters, 10/22/19) 

Monthly premiums for an average 2020 Obamacare health insurance plan will fall about 4 percent from this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Trump administration, which has tried to dismantle the program. [...]

The total number of issuers will rise to 175 from 155 this year and two states will have a single issuer in 2020, down from five in 2019 and 10 in 2018.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM

I KNOW I MAKE ART BECAUSE NO ONE PAYS TO SEE IT!:

Superhero films are 'cynical exercise' to make profits for corporations - Ken Loach (Andrew Pulver,  22 Oct 2019, The Guardian)

Ken Loach has joined the chorus of auteur directors criticising superhero movies, saying they have "nothing to do with the art of cinema".

Loach spoke to Sky while promoting his new film, Sorry We Missed You, an account of the breadline existence of a gig-economy delivery driver in Newcastle.

Loach said of superhero films: "I find them boring. They're made as commodities ... like hamburgers ... It's about making a commodity which will make profit for a big corporation - they're a cynical exercise. They're a market exercise and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema."

Michelangelo is branded a 'multi-millionaire' miser (Bruce Johnston, 30 Nov 2002, The Telegraph)

Michelangelo was a thoroughly dishonest multi-millionaire miser who slept in his boots despite his great wealth, according to a new study.

Although the artist was known to be reasonably well off, new research suggests that he was fabulously wealthy. Michelangelo left an estate worth 50,000 florins - about £35 million in today's money.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM

...AND CHEAPER...:


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

THAR HE BLOWS!:

Trump's quest for vengeance against John Brennan (NATASHA BERTRAND and DANIEL LIPPMAN, 10/22/2019, Politico)

As part of that investigation, Barr and John Durham, the federal prosecutor he appointed to conduct it, have been probing a conspiracy theory for which there is little if any evidence, according to several people with knowledge of the matter: that a key player in the Russia probe, a professor named Joseph Mifsud, was actually a Western intelligence asset sent to discredit the Trump campaign -- and that the CIA, under Brennan, was somehow involved.

Trump, meanwhile, has become "obsessed" with Brennan, who frequently gets under the president's skin by publicly questioning his mental acuity and fitness for office, according to a former White House official. On Brennan, "it was always, 'he's an idiot, he's a crook, we ought to investigate him,'" this person said, characterizing Trump's outbursts.



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