November 15, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 8:36 PM


Posted by orrinj at 5:39 PM


Posted by orrinj at 5:30 PM


Posted by orrinj at 5:22 PM


Posted by orrinj at 5:17 PM


Economic growth is close to zero for the fourth quarter, according to Fed gauges (Jeff Cox, 11/15/19, CNBC)

The U.S. economy will barely grow at all in the fourth quarter, if two Federal Reserve gauges that track gross domestic product are correct.

With some recent data coming in below expectations, both the Atlanta and New York Fed's trackers have lowered their expectations for the last three months of 2019.

According to the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow, growth is likely to come in at just 0.3%. The New York Fed's GDP Nowcast is showing a gain of 0.4%.

Restricting the free flow of goods and people works exactly as badly as expected? Shocking...

Posted by orrinj at 2:09 PM


Posted by orrinj at 2:05 PM


The White House Releases a Trump-Zelensky Call Transcript That Shows the White House Hasn't Been Honest About the Call (AARON MAK, NOV 15, 2019, Slate)

A readout that the administration provided to reporters mere hours after the call states:

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy to congratulate him on his victory in Ukraine's April 21 election. The President wished him success and called the election an important moment in Ukraine's history, noting the peaceful and democratic manner of the electoral process. President Trump underscored the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity - within its internationally recognized borders - and expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.

Nowhere in the summary that the White House released on Friday does Trump bring up corruption, sovereignty, territorial integrity, democratic reforms, or prosperity. So either the White House's initial readout fabricated details about the call, or the rough transcript is incomplete. 

Posted by orrinj at 1:58 PM


Report: Likud expects announcement of indictment against PM as early as Tuesday (Times of Israel, 11/15/19)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has received information that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit may formally announce corruption charges against the premier as early as next Tuesday, according to an unconfirmed Friday report.

Posted by orrinj at 1:57 PM


'Not anti-Semitic': Khamenei defines Iran's goal of 'wiping out Israel' (Times of Israel, 11/15/19)

When Iran speaks of wiping Israel off the map, it doesn't mean the mass slaughter of the country's Jews but rather eliminating the Jewish state's "imposed regime," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday.

"The disappearance of Israel does not mean the disappearance of the Jewish people, because we have nothing against [Jews]," Khamenei said, speaking alongside senior Iranian officials at the so-called 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference.

"Wiping out Israel means that the Palestinian people, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, should be able to determine their fate and get rid of thugs such as [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu," Khamenei continued, according to Iranian media.

Israel, on the other hand, has nuclear missiles aimed at the Shi'a.

Posted by orrinj at 1:55 PM


House Ethics Board: 'Substantial Reason to Believe' Tlaib Used Campaign as Personal Piggybank (Graham Piro, NOVEMBER 15, 2019, Free Beacon)

Tlaib received two potentially illegal payments from the campaign after the last general election, according to the report. A salary payment of $2,000 occurred on Nov. 16, 2018, and another payment of $15,500 occurred on Dec. 1.

Payment for work during the campaign is legally permitted, but payment for work afterwards would violate the law. Emails indicate that Tlaib was paid for work done after the campaign as the Dec. 1 check was labeled as payment for work between "Nov. 16, 2018 to December 31, 2018." The election occurred on Nov. 6.

The report includes several emails from Tlaib to campaign staff, including an April 4, 2018, email in which she asked for "a one time payment of 5K" due to personal financial struggles. 

A later email showed Tlaib reaching out to a larger number of campaign staff and informing them she would not make it through the campaign without a stipend. She requested payments of "$2,000 per two weeks but not exceeding $12,000″ from the campaign. 

Posted by orrinj at 1:52 PM


'Witness intimidation in real-time': Democrats see more evidence of Trump obstruction (SARAH FERRIS, MELANIE ZANONA and JOHN BRESNAHAN, 11/15/2019, Politico)

Lawmakers of both parties were stunned to see Trump's disparaging tweet about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in the middle of a hearing where she had already described in great detail how she felt personally threatened by the president.

"What you saw today -- witness intimidation in real-time by the president of the United States," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters during a brief pause in the hearing.

Posted by orrinj at 12:11 PM


Roger Stone Found Guilty on All Counts: Longtime Trump adviser convicted of lying about WikiLeaks. (Dan Friedman, 11/15/19, MoJo)

A federal jury has convicted Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, of making false statements to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.

The false statement and obstruction of justice charges have maximum sentence of five years each. Witness tampering carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.  [...]

Testimony Tuesday by former campaign staffer Rick Gates suggested that Trump probably lied to special counsel Robert Mueller about conversations he had in 2016 with Stone regarding WikiLeaks. Trump told Mueller in written answers that he did not recall "discussing WikiLeaks with [Stone], nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign."

But Gates described a July 31, 2016, phone call between Trump and Stone, immediately after which Trump told Gates that "more information would be coming." Gates also revealed that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort told Gates that he intended to brief Trump on information from Stone on WikiLeaks' plans.

Thanks, Bob.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Most Pennsylvania voters have dim view of Trump, new poll shows. His Democratic foes have work to do (LAURA OLSON and EMILY OPILO, 11/14/19, THE MORNING CALL)

One year before Pennsylvania voters will head to the polls in a critical swing state, a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows nearly six in 10 don't believe President Donald Trump should be reelected. [...]

Six in 10 state voters say Trump is dividing the country and not trustworthy, and more than half say he only cares about himself. And Pennsylvania voters are divided on whether he should be removed from office before next year's election.

Among the field of Democrats seeking to succeed Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden performs the best in a head-to-head match-up, leading Trump 52% to 43%. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also topped Trump, 50% to 45%, though that result was within the poll's 6 percentage point margin of error.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Budget official expected to defy White House, testify in impeachment inquiry (Leigh Ann Caldwell and Josh Lederman, 11/14/19, NBC News)

Sandy, an associate director for National Security Programs, has been asked to appear Saturday for a deposition by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees. A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee declined to comment Thursday night.

Sandy is considered a critical witness who can provide insight into the withheld security aid to Ukraine, which is at the basis of the impeachment inquiry opened by House Democrats.

He is "a true public servant who has served with great distinction in both Republican and and Democratic administrations," said Nicholas Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center under the Barack Obama and Trump administrations.

Democrats are interested in hearing from Sandy and other OMB career officials about the agency's role in withholding nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine and the eventual release of that aid Sept. 11 after the hold on the aid became public, causing a Congressional uproar and prompting the committees to open an investigation.

Multiple people have testified that they learned of the hold on the aid from the OMB.

Defense Department official Laura Cooper testified that President Donald Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney "conveyed" the message that the aid was withhold at Trump's direction in a mid-July meeting.

Bill Taylor,acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said he learned the aid was being withheld in a conference call with OMB, in which an official said it was directed by the president.

Professionalism is fatal to Trumpism.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


N. Korea calls Biden a 'rabid dog' for insulting its dignity (KIM TONG-HYUNG, 11/15/19, AP) 

North Korea called former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden a "rabid dog" that "must be beaten to death with a stick" in its latest swipe against foreign and political leaders it sees as hostile to the North's leadership.

The commentary by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said the U.S. presidential hopeful "reeled off a string of rubbish against the dignity" of the North's supreme leadership, an act it said deserves "merciless punishment."

Trump hikes price tag for US forces in Korea almost 500% as Seoul questions alliance (Nicole Gaouette, November 15, 2019, CNN)

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper landed in South Korea on Thursday to navigate renewed threats from an "enraged" North Korea and newly heightened strain in the alliance with Seoul that congressional aides, lawmakers and Korea experts say has been caused by President Donald Trump.

Trump is demanding that South Korea pay roughly 500% more in 2020 to cover the cost of keeping US troops on the peninsula, a congressional aide and an administration official confirmed to CNN.

It can be hard sometimes to decide what the most amusing aspect of the Trumpbots is, from their newfound hatred of law and order to their conversion on eminent domain.  But their embrace of Putin, Kim, the Sa'uds, etc. is way up there.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump talks Russia probe audit with attorney general and White House counsel in Oval Office meeting  (Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins, 11/15/19, CNN)

President Donald Trump met with Attorney General William Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone in an Oval Office meeting Thursday afternoon in which the so-called Horowitz report came up in conversation, two sources told CNN.

The animated discussions were captured by TV crews outside the Oval Office on the South Lawn of the White House awaiting the President's departure for Louisiana. Trump held a campaign rally in Louisiana ahead of Saturday's gubernatorial election in that state.

Another IG is going to be fired for doing his constitutional duty.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Continetti: Medicaid Issues Are 'Kryptonite to Republicans' (Washington Free Beacon, NOVEMBER 14, 2019)

Continetti said during an appearance on MSNBC's Meet the Press Daily that incumbent governor John Bel Edwards (D.) has been blasting his opponent, Republican Eddie Rispone, over the issue of Medicaid expansion. Continetti called the issue "kryptonite" to Republicans.

"Bel Edwards is an incumbent, he is pro-life. He is not where Beto O'Rourke is on guns--far, far from it," Continetti said. "And the sleeper issue here is Medicaid. He expanded Medicaid. He is saying Rispone is going to freeze Medicaid or eliminate it altogether. Medicaid is kryptonite to Republicans once it's been introduced."

Rispone has promised to freeze enrollment in Medicaid expansion in order to root out waste in the program. Edwards criticized this proposal as a de facto repeal of the program.

Continetti said Republicans must come to terms with the fact that safety-net programs, such as Medicaid expansion, are "not going anywhere."

"I think conservatives thought for a long time once you introduce an entitlement, it is almost impossible to get rid of it," he said. "That's one reason conservatives spent so much energy trying to stop Obamacare."

"In places like Kentucky, Louisiana where it has been introduced, Republicans have to come to grips with the fact that the safety net is not going anywhere," he added.