November 4, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:43 PM


Exclusive: Ukraine to fire prosecutor who discussed Bidens with Giuliani - source (Polina Ivanova, Ilya Zhegulev, 11/04/19, Reuters) 

Ukraine plans to fire the prosecutor who led investigations into the firm where Joe Biden's son served on the board, a central figure in the activity at the heart of impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump, a source told Reuters.

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has acknowledged meeting the prosecutor, Kostiantyn Kulyk, to discuss accusations against the Bidens.

The decision to sideline someone who played an important role in Giuliani's efforts to find out damaging information about the Bidens comes as Ukraine has tried to avoid getting drawn into a partisan fight in Washington.

now get him to the safe house with Mifsud.

Posted by orrinj at 6:24 PM


Taxes Are Surprisingly Similar in Texas and California (Kevin Drum, 11/04/19, Mother Jones0

The LA Times tells us today that conservatives are leaving California for "redder pastures."  [...]

The state that conservative Californians are allegedly flocking to is Texas, and for your average middle-class worker or retiree its taxes are surprisingly similar to the People's Republic of California. Here's the comparison from the good folks at ITEP:

If you're poor, California has lower taxes. If you're rich, Texas has lower taxes. But if you're middle class, there's barely any difference. You'll pay about 8-10 percent of your income in state and local taxes.

Posted by orrinj at 6:18 PM


Historian: New evidence shows FDR's bigotry derailed many Holocaust rescue plans (MATT LEBOVIC, 11/04/19, Times of Israel)

Not only was US president Franklin Roosevelt perfunctory about rescuing Jews from the Nazis, but he obstructed rescue opportunities that would have cost him little or nothing, according to Holocaust historian Rafael Medoff.

FDR's role in preventing the rescue of European Jewry is detailed in a new book called, "The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust."
Published in September, Medoff's book includes new archival materials about the relationship between Roosevelt and Rabbi Stephen Wise, who the author sees as a sycophantic Jewish leader used by Roosevelt to "keep the Jews quiet."

Wrote Medoff, "Franklin Roosevelt took advantage of Wise's adoration of his policies and leadership to manipulate Wise through flattery and intermittent access to the White House." In return for visits to the White House and Roosevelt calling him by his first name, Wise undermined Jewish activists who demanded the administration let more Jewish refugees into the US.

According to Medoff, Roosevelt's policies toward European Jews were motivated by sentiments similar to those that spurred him to intern 120,000 Japanese Americans in detention camps as potential spies.

"Roosevelt used almost identical language in recommending that the Jews and the Japanese be forcibly 'spread thin' around the country," Medoff told The Times of Israel. "I was struck by the similarity between the language FDR used regarding the Japanese, and that which he used in private concerning Jews -- that they can't be trusted, they won't ever become fully loyal Americans, they'll try to dominate wherever they go."


Posted by orrinj at 6:16 PM


Exclusive: Giuliani associate now willing to comply with Trump impeachment inquiry - lawyer (Aram Roston, 11/04/19, Reuters) 

Lev Parnas, an indicted Ukrainian-American businessman who has ties to President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is now prepared to comply with requests for records and testimony from congressional impeachment investigators, his lawyer told Reuters on Monday.

Parnas, who helped Giuliani look for dirt on Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, is a key figure in the impeachment inquiry that is examining whether Trump abused his office for personal political gain.

His apparent decision to now work with the congressional committees represents a change of heart. Parnas rebuffed a request from three House of Representatives committees last month to provide documents and testimony.

Posted by orrinj at 6:12 PM


Sanders and Warren Have to Tame Nancy Pelosi: The House speaker is building road blocks against Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. (Jeet Heer, 11/04/19, The Nation)

Nancy Pelosi, America's most powerful elected Democrat, made clear in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday that she has little use for the party's swing to the left, saying, "What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan."

"Remember November," Pelosi insisted. "You must win the Electoral College." On health care, Pelosi was more set on defending past gains than on pushing forward. "Protect the Affordable Care Act," she argued. "I think that's the path to health care for all Americans." She claimed that "the Affordable Care Act is a better benefit than Medicare." Pelosi was equally dismissive of the Green New Deal: "There's very strong opposition on the labor side to the Green New Deal because it's like 10 years, no more fossil fuel."

In policy terms, Pelosi insisted that she would maintain pay-as-you-play rules, which would hamstring any effort to borrow money to pay for new spending. Pelosi is adamant that "we cannot just keep increasing the debt."

In setting environmentalism against jobs as well as using the deficit to set limits on future spending, Pelosi sounds more like a Republican than a Democrat. 

she's the most conservative member of either party leadership.

Posted by orrinj at 4:17 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Inside Ukraine's Push to Cultivate Trump From the StartInside Ukraine's Push to Cultivate Trump From the Start (Mark Mazzetti, Eric Lipton and Andrew E. Kramer, Nov. 4th, 2019, NY Times)

Mr. Poroshenko's campaign included trade deals that were politically expedient for Mr. Trump, meetings with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the freezing of potentially damaging criminal cases and attempts to use the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a back channel.

From the start, Mr. Poroshenko's aides also scrambled to find ways to flatter the new American president -- advising their boss to gush during his first telephone call with Mr. Trump about Tom Brady, the star New England Patriots quarterback whom Mr. Trump has long admired.

An examination of the first year of Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine shows how the White House also saw the relationship as a transactional one that could help Mr. Trump politically.

Mr. Poroshenko, so eager to gain favor as Russian-backed separatists were escalating a fight against the Ukrainian military, did his part to encourage this belief. He helped plant the seeds for Mr. Trump's July quid pro quo request to his successor, Volodymyr Zelensky -- a request that prompted the impeachment inquiry into whether he manipulated American policy toward Ukraine for personal gain.

Mr. Poroshenko's strategy yielded results. The Trump administration reversed an Obama-era moratorium on sales of lethal weapons that Ukraine sought for its fight against the separatists in the country's east.

Near the end of 2017, just as the government in Kiev was trying to get final approval from the Trump administration on the sale of the Javelin anti-tank weapons, Mr. Poroshenko's prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, had begun freezing cases in Ukraine relevant to the Mueller investigation, including an inquiry tracing millions of dollars that Ukrainian political figures paid to Mr. Manafort.

Now, impeachment investigators are examining the two years of interactions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Poroshenko, according to a congressional Democrat. And Mr. Zelensky's team is researching back-channel communications between Ukrainian officials and Americans from both political parties going back to 2017, according to a Ukrainian with knowledge of the effort.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Hillary Clinton leads Trump in a new Fox News poll. Yes, in November 2019. (The Week, 11/03/19)

A Fox News poll released Sunday did not have great news for President Trump. His approval rating was 42 percent, with 57 percent of registered voters disapproving of his job performance and 46 percent strongly disapproving. A year before the 2020 election, he is behind all of the top-tier Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden (51 percent to 39 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (46 percent to 41 percent), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (49 percent to 41 percent). Even worse, Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, who isn't even running, 43 percent to 41 percent.