All entries by this author


Mar 22nd, 2017 12:07 pm | By

Manafort laundered money for Yanukovych, we’re told.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

“According to documents that we’ve reviewed, Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian oligarch who wanted him to promote Russian interests,” the AP’s Chad Day tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “And in particular, he wrote a memo that outlined this kind of vast plan for him to promote Russian interests in the former Soviet republics — and also to specifically benefit the Putin

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A marauding attack

Mar 22nd, 2017 11:49 am | By

The BBC’s latest summing up:

Four people, including an armed police officer and a man believed to be the attacker, have died in a terrorist incident near the UK’s Houses of Parliament, Scotland Yard has said.

A woman was among several pedestrians struck by a car on Westminster bridge, before it crashed into railings.

The officer was stabbed in the Houses of Parliament by an attacker, who was shot by police.

At least 20 people were injured, including three other officers.

The French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said three French school pupils were among the injured and offered “solidarity with our British friends, and full support” for the wounded students and their families.

The Port of London Authority

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Mar 22nd, 2017 9:47 am | By

From the BBC’s live page:

What we know so far

  •  A policeman has been stabbed and his attacker shot by officers at the House of Parliament
  • Police are treating it as a “terrorist incident”
  • The attacker is reported to have mowed down several pedestrians as he drove a grey Hyundai car across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings
  • He is then reported to have run through the gates of the Palace of Westminster and stabbed the officer
  •  Eyewitnesses said he was shot by police as he approached a second officer clutching his knife
  • House of Commons and Lords in lockdown – as is nearby St Thomas’s hospital
  • Public urged to avoid the area and Westminster Underground station is
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In London

Mar 22nd, 2017 9:17 am | By

Twenty minutes ago:

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Their last day

Mar 21st, 2017 5:17 pm | By

A poignant memory:

 … Read the rest

Was Bharara getting too close?

Mar 21st, 2017 4:50 pm | By

Pro Publica tells us about some more possible (or likely) corruption in the Trump gang.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.

Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.

Oh did he. Surely that’s a big no-no for legislators. I hope? Isn’t it? … Read the rest

Guest post: The reason we haven’t had a World War during NATO’s run

Mar 21st, 2017 4:26 pm | By

Originally a comment by Freemage on Rex has to get a haircut that day.

And Trump (and even Vladimir) fail to fully understand the reason for the US involvement in NATO. It’s not got anything to do with protecting Europe from Russian aggression–that’s a happy coincidence, frankly, though it’s one that gave a polite cover-story to the real benefit to the U.S. for the last almost-70 years.

To-wit: We’re there so that everyone else doesn’t need to protect themselves from Russia. It’s a subtle, nuanced difference, but it’s the reason we haven’t had a World War during NATO’s run. I’m sure Germany, France and England could all make themselves largely impossible to easily invade. Even most of the nations … Read the rest

“This place is packed,” he exulted

Mar 21st, 2017 12:15 pm | By

Bozo took another restorative trip to The Heartland last night, to puff up his deflated ego again.

“This place is packed,” he exulted. “We’re in the heartland of America, and there is no place I would rather be.”

In the packed stands of Freedom Hall in Louisville, the swirl of questions back in Washington — about the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia or the president’s debunked assertions that he had been wiretapped by his predecessor — seemed a million miles away.

That was exactly the point. Mr. Trump’s aides have used these campaign-style events to buoy their boss and provide a respite from the pileup of pressures in Washington. Mr. Trump recycled many of his favorite lines from the

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The new monarchy

Mar 21st, 2017 12:07 pm | By

Robert Reich last night:

Let me get this straight: Ivanka Trump — who has myriad business interests that overlap with her father’s – is now moving into the West Wing as a top White House advisor, getting a security clearance and government-issued communications devices. But she’s not being sworn in, will hold no official position, and so will not be a government employee who must by law adhere to official ethics rules.

Doesn’t the Trump administration have enough ethics problems? Aren’t there already enough conflicts of interest to sink a ship?

Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, is now an official senior adviser in the White House – but at least his status is an official government employee, he was

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Rex has to get a haircut that day

Mar 21st, 2017 11:25 am | By

Tillerson is snubbing Nato.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will miss a meeting of Nato foreign ministers next month, US officials say.

He will instead travel to a G7 meeting in Sicily, Italy, and then to Moscow to meet Russian leaders.

Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon will represent the US at the Western military alliance meeting in Brussels.

Correspondents say the move will add to concerns about US President Donald Trump’s commitment to Nato as he seeks better relations with Moscow.

Moscow of course hates Nato. Trump’s hatred of Nato seems to be linked to his servility toward Russia. I hope the FBI is including this in its investigation.

During his election campaign, Mr Trump expressed admiration

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But the current president of the United States lies

Mar 21st, 2017 10:14 am | By

David Leonhardt spells it out, starting with the stipulation that not all untruths are lies.

But the current president of the United States lies. He lies in ways that no American politician ever has before. He has lied about — among many other things — Obama’s birthplace, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud and his groping of women.

He tells so many untruths that it’s time to leave behind the textual parsing over which are unwitting and which are deliberate —

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Surprise discovery that Trump is not a nice man

Mar 21st, 2017 9:45 am | By

The disintegration proceeds.

The testimony of Mr. Comey and that of Adm. Michael S. Rogers, his National Security Agency counterpart, will most likely enervate and distract Mr. Trump’s administration for weeks, if not longer, overshadowing good news, like the impressive debut of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nominee, on the first day of his confirmation hearings Monday.

But it’s the obsessiveness and ferocity of Mr. Trump’s pushback against the Russian allegations, often untethered from fact or tact, that is making an uncertain situation worse.

Mr. Trump’s allies have begun to wonder if his need for self-expression, often on social media, will exceed his instinct for self-preservation, with disastrous results both for the president and for a party

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When in doubt, hold a rally

Mar 20th, 2017 4:45 pm | By

Meanwhile, on a day when Trump’s lies have been discussed in Congress and all over the press, he’s off for yet another “rally” – to drink in the adoring cheers of the 27 people who still think he’s awesome.

Trump was resuming his campaign-style events at the start of a consequential week for his young presidency. Confirmation hearings for his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, opened Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The House was expected to vote Thursday on the GOP-backed healthcare bill.

Trump’s Louisville rally, his third since his inauguration, followed a daylong congressional hearing in which FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged for the first time that the agency was investigating whether Trump’s

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Donnie’s tweets did not hold up well

Mar 20th, 2017 4:33 pm | By

The Post’s fact-checker reports on Trump’s long day of telling lie after lie.

With the House Intelligence Committee on Monday prepared to hold hearings on Russian influence in the 2016 election, the president issued tweets that did not hold up well as the testimony unfolded.

But in his opening testimony, FBI Director James Comey announced that

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10 golf trips in 8 weeks

Mar 20th, 2017 1:16 pm | By

Brad Jaffy on Trump’s expensive golf weekends and his past rages at Obama for taking fewer shorter cheaper golf breaks.

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He puts himself in the shoes

Mar 20th, 2017 12:57 pm | By

In case you missed Trump’s budget director saying the thing about coal miners and PBS, here’s CNN reporting it – starting with the fact that Mike Pence actually supported public tv not long ago:

But in 2014, Vice President Mike Pence, then Indiana’s governor also known for frugal budgets, made a passionate defense for the role of public television.

“I believe the state has the primary responsibility for educating our children and I will say from my heart through all of my life, one thing has been clear: Public television plays a vital role in educating all of the public, but most especially, our children,” he said during an acceptance speech at that year’s Public Media Summit.

Including, thank you … Read the rest

We have questions too

Mar 20th, 2017 12:37 pm | By

One of those items going the rounds on Facebook, original source unknown:

“Why should coal miners pay for PBS”? This was an actual question asked by the Trump administration yesterday. Obviously a blatantly stupid question. We have questions too. Why should a poor black family in Detroit pay for the President to go golfing? Why should a single mother of 3 who’s working 2 jobs in Louisiana be denied health-care so that the CEO of Etna can get a tax-break? Why is the guy washing dishes in Baton Rouge paying for the President’s wife’s secret service protection so she can live comfortably in NYC? We could do this all day. But here’s the real question the Trump administration and

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The road to the yellow star

Mar 20th, 2017 11:50 am | By

Diana Carillo shares an incident in Trump’s America:

A few friends and I went to Saint Marc’s in Huntington Beach today. My sister and my friend were seated first and the waiter asked them for their “proof of residency” when they ordered a drink. My friend in disbelief repeated what he said and his response was “yeah, I need to make sure you’re from here before I serve you.” Not knowing that this happened to them, my friend and I were then seated and he returned to the table and asked us for our “proof of residency.” After fully digesting what he said, we all got up and left to speak to the manager. For a few seconds I

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Guest post: It’s hard to overstate what a disaster it is

Mar 20th, 2017 11:44 am | By

Originally a comment by Claire on Decline.

The US’s leading position in scientific research is what brought me to this country in the first place. I did my postdoctoral training at the NIH, and when I moved on to a faculty position, the recent years of tight budgets were a concern. As the Atlantic reporter notes, the funding lines have been very tight for many years. The leading research grant mentioned is called the R01, and it’s true that the average age of a first R01 awardee has been climbing for years too.

What is not appreciated is that because about 80% of extramural funding is already committed for grants awarded in previous years (the R01 is typically a … Read the rest

No information

Mar 20th, 2017 10:37 am | By

Comey has said what everyone outside of Trump’s pocket expected he would say.

FBI Director James B. Comey on Monday said there is “no information” that supports President Trump’s claims that his predecessor ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the election campaign.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ said Comey, testifying at the House Intelligence Committee’s first public hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,’’ and agents found nothing to support those claims, he said.

Spicey is currently busy composing variations on the theme “But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” but everyone outside of Trump’s pocket knows that if there had been such evidence for Trump’s libelous … Read the rest