All entries by this author

The indictment

Feb 16th, 2018 10:41 am | By

Rosenstein announced the indictment about 2o minutes ago.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is announcing Friday the indictment of Russian nationals and entities accused of breaking U.S. laws to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports.

On Friday, a D.C. federal grand jury returned an indictment against the Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization which has connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin — it names 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities that accuses them of violating U.S. criminal laws to meddle in U.S. elections and political processes. According to a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, the indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., as well as “three defendants

Read the rest


Only be sure always to call it please “research”

Feb 16th, 2018 10:13 am | By

This just in (i.e. just tweeted by Benjamin Wittes with an extra-emphatic “BOOM”) –

Indictment of INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC

The Post yesterday:

The latest revelations come after U.S. intelligence officials warned this week that Russia is gearing up to meddle again, this time in the November elections. Yet even as analysts urge preparation for the next round of online disinformation, major questions remain from 2016 over how Russians inserted themselves into a rollicking American political campaign without setting off more alarms in the United States — or triggering efforts to combat the disinformation effort.

The analysis by Albright, who is the research director at Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism and is part of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center

Read the rest


What is possible

Feb 15th, 2018 5:25 pm | By

Senator Marco Rubio claims to know, somehow, that restrictions on gun ownership would not have prevented yesterday’s slaughter at a public high school.

Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that gun restrictions would not have prevented the mass shooting at a high school in his home state.

“I understand. I really do. You read in the newspaper that they used a certain kind of gun and therefore let’s make it harder to get those kinds of guns. I don’t have some sort of de facto religious objection to that or some ideological commitment to that, per se,” the Florida Republican said.

“If we do something, it should be something that works. And the struggle up to this point has been

Read the rest


Guest post: Enough with this being totally bewildered again and again and again

Feb 15th, 2018 4:35 pm | By

Guest post by Maureen Brian, originally commenting on a Facebook posting of mine of Trump tweeting:

So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!

If the behaviour of young Mr Cruz was so bad that he had to be expelled from school then clearly he had problems. He had had problems for some time.

Was he offered any sort of support long ago? Was that support even available? Did anyone offer support to his family?

Before we rush to station a brigade of psychiatrists in every school or fall for … Read the rest



$360k to Ted Cruz, $176k to Marco Rubio

Feb 15th, 2018 1:32 pm | By

Via:

Read the rest



Executive privilege starts at birth

Feb 15th, 2018 12:38 pm | By

Meanwhile in areas a little bit away from gunshots, Steve Bannon is trying to convince the House Intelligence committee that “executive privilege” extends retroactively, as if Trump were surrounded by a penumbra of executivityhood for months or years or even decades before he actually took office, and thus that anyone he plotted with at any point within that penumbra had a privilege of not saying anything to pesky House committees no matter how hard they asked.

House Republican leaders are weighing “further steps” to force former top White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon to answer investigators’ questions in their probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election — including potentially declaring him in contempt of Congress — after a Thursday

Read the rest


Republicans called for prayers

Feb 15th, 2018 12:05 pm | By

The Times is live-updating the latest Random Explosion of Carnage:

• Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said he would meet with state lawmakers to secure more funding for school safety and the treatment of mental illness. “If we have somebody that’s mentally ill, they can’t have access to a gun,” Mr. Scott said.

• The authorities said the AR-15 rifle that Mr. Cruz used in the attack was purchased legally. “No laws were violated in the procurement of this weapon,” said Peter J. Forcelli, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami. In Florida, an AR-15 is easier to buy than a handgun.

It’s not about “mental illness,” it’s about horrifyingly … Read the rest



The random and the predictable

Feb 15th, 2018 11:15 am | By

Conor Friedersdorf reminds us that Trump specifically and explicitly promised that what happened at that Florida school yesterday would not happen under his regime.

In his inaugural address, Donald Trump declared, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” He knew it would not. We know it did not.

“I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you’re not going to be shot,” he declared during the campaign. “Your child isn’t going to be shot.” He has not been able to make sure of that––ask any parent whose children were caught up in any of the recent school shootings.

Trump gave those credulous enough to

Read the rest


Above all, do nothing

Feb 15th, 2018 10:05 am | By

You couldn’t make it up.

Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting

Where to begin?

We’re not preventing the families from grieving, or interfering with their grieving.

What “agenda”? The only “agenda” is to try to stop this horrendous thing from happening over and over – in fact to try to prevent it from ever happening again, on … Read the rest



Fair play

Feb 14th, 2018 3:59 pm | By

The BBC yesterday:

The Australian Football League (AFL) has agreed for the first time to allow a transgender footballer to play women’s football at state level.

Hannah Mouncey, 28, who previously played at local level in Canberra, hopes to take to the field in the state of Victoria this season.

The AFL said it wanted everyone to be able to play Australian rules football.

Before she began her gender transition in 2015, Mouncey played for the Australian men’s handball team.

The AFL’s decision means she can now partake in any of its affiliated state leagues during the 2018 season.

Australian rules football consists of two teams of 18 players and takes place on an oval-shaped field.

Players can

Read the rest


Nearly 90 percent of us

Feb 14th, 2018 3:28 pm | By

The latest school shootup:

More than a dozen people were killed in a shooting on Wednesday afternoon at a high school about an hour northwest of Miami [Florida], a law enforcement official said.

The authorities said there were 14 victims, but did not say if they were injured or dead. The Broward County Public Schools confirmed fatalities, but would not say how many.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect is in custody and the scene is still active.

Parkland, an affluent suburb of Fort Lauderdale with a population of about 30,000, is known for its good public schools. Douglas High is among the largest in the Broward school district, with about 3,000 students.

“My prayers and

Read the rest


“I don’t have to obey no stinking order”

Feb 14th, 2018 2:46 pm | By

Garrett Epps on widening contempt for the rule of law in the US such as for instance

the litigation tactic adopted by Michael Turzai and Joseph Scarnati, two Republicans who are respectively the speaker of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives and the President of the Pennsylvania State Senate, in an emergency stay application filed with Justice Samuel Alito. The application asked Alito to block a decision of Pennsylvania’s State Supreme Court. That decision—rendered as an order on January 22 and explained in a lengthy opinion on Thursday—invalidated the system of U.S. House districts approved by the Republican legislature for election of members of the U.S. House next fall.

The state court held that the partisan nature of the district

Read the rest


The gang that couldn’t walk straight

Feb 14th, 2018 2:33 pm | By

Oops.

An adult film star who has been embroiled in allegations of an affair with President Donald Trump is free to tell her story, her manager has said.

Stormy Daniels is no longer bound by a non-disclosure contract after Mr Trump’s lawyer admitted he paid her, manager Gina Rodriguez says.

Mr Trump’s personal lawyer confirmed in a statement to media he privately paid Ms Daniels $130,000 (£95,000) in 2016.

Ms Rodriguez says that acknowledgement allows her client to speak freely.

Oopsie oops.… Read the rest



She was indispensable

Feb 14th, 2018 11:21 am | By

Moni Mohsin in the Guardian on Asma Jahangir:

Looking through social media I am not surprised by the number of tributes to her, but by the fact that they come from her detractors as well as her supporters. The conservatives who branded her a traitor until last week are now acknowledging her courage. Whether that is out of political expediency or genuine feeling I cannot say. But for the besieged liberal community and the religious minorities of Pakistan, she was indispensable. When plainclothes security men barrelled into my sister’s home one night in 1999, dragging away my journalist brother-in-law at gunpoint, the first person she called was Asma. That’s how it was. If you wanted someone in your

Read the rest


A bargain

Feb 14th, 2018 10:57 am | By

And speaking of trying to slash budgets for everything that’s not weapons or presidential travel while also pissing it away on graft and trumpian whims – Donnie’s Excellent Parade will cost between 10 and 30 million.

Trump’s military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Wednesday.

Mulvaney offered the estimate during questioning at the House Budget Committee. He said the White House hasn’t yet budgeted for the parade and would either rely on Congress to appropriate funds, or use money that already has been approved.

“The estimates I’ve seen, they’re very preliminary, is between 10 [million dollars] and 30 [million dollars] depending upon the length,” Mulvaney said. “Obviously an

Read the rest


Fiddling the expenses

Feb 14th, 2018 10:42 am | By

Trump’s proposed budget (which mercifully won’t get through Congress) slashes science and the arts and humanities, while in another part of the forest his hires steal public money in every creative way they can think of. The latest example:

Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements to create a pretext for taxpayers to cover expenses for the secretary’s wife on a 10-day trip to Europe last summer, the agency’s inspector general has found.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, VA’s third-most senior official, altered language in an email from an aide coordinating the trip to make it appear that Shulkin was receiving an award from the Danish government — then used the award

Read the rest


An embarrassing situation could quickly morph

Feb 14th, 2018 9:25 am | By

So Trump’s lawyer admits he paid Stephanie Clifford aka “Stormy Daniels” the 130k but says he wasn’t reimbursed by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign. Ok but what about by Trump himself? That he doesn’t mention. Lawyers gonna lawyer.

Why, in his generosity, would Mr Cohen give $130,000 to Ms Daniels? The Wall Street Journal has reported that it was in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement about a decade-old affair between Mr Trump and Ms Daniels. Circumstantial evidence – that Ms Daniels had been in contact with media outlets prior to the transfer and has since gone silent – lends credence to this line.

But hey, maybe it was just a kind present from a nice man who wanted … Read the rest



A broad swath

Feb 14th, 2018 9:01 am | By

The world according to Trump – science and scientific research should Just Go Away so that we can spend more and more and more billions on guns and subs and planes.

The Trump administration wants to eliminate a broad swath of the nation’s climate change research infrastructure, including satellites, education programs and science centers.

Though it has little chance of being enacted, the Trump administration’s budget proposal unveiled yesterday targets hundreds of millions of dollars in climate science, renewable energy research and climate mitigation efforts across a variety of federal agencies, including NASA, NOAA, U.S. EPA and the departments of the Interior and Energy.

Because why try to slow and mitigate the effects of climate change? Why not just party … Read the rest



Truth is not in the White House DNA

Feb 13th, 2018 6:02 pm | By

Oh gee, poor White House, they’re all in a mess again because of Porter and Wray and why won’t it just stop? All they want is to be left in peace to take away Medicare and Medicaid and subsidies for health insurance and the EPA and food stamps and a few other tiny things.

The White House struggled Tuesday to contain a widening crisis over its handling of domestic violence allegations against a senior official, as it reeled from sworn testimony by the FBI chief that directly contradicted what President Trump’s aides had presented as the official version of events.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the bureau had completed a background report on then-staff

Read the rest


Meet Paul Nehlen

Feb 13th, 2018 4:59 pm | By

One of Trump’s new besties is a decidedly overt racist. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

A Republican challenger to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan drew international criticism over the weekend for tweeting an image that replaced the mixed-race fiancée of Prince Harry with a dark-skinned prehistoric Briton known as “Cheddar Man.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Paul Nehlen’s Twitter account had been suspended.

The provocation is only the latest for Nehlen, an outrage artist who has used this technique to help his campaign raise funds and in turn pay his wife a salary. Last month, Nehlen drew criticism for making anti-Semitic tweets and then posting the contact information of ordinary citizens who called and emailed to berate him.

In a tweet

Read the rest