All entries by this author

Hang on a minute

Feb 13th, 2018 12:16 pm | By

The sale is off for now, boys.

The fire sale of the Weinstein Company hit a last-minute snag on Sunday, when Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, filed a lawsuit against the studio and its fraternal founders alleging that they repeatedly violated state and city laws barring gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion.

Harvey and Bob were hoping to avoid bankruptcy.

But the final-stage talks came to a screeching halt on Sunday afternoon, according to the two people briefed on the process, as the investor group received word that Mr. Schneiderman was about to file a lawsuit based on an ongoing four-month investigation into the Weinstein Company’s internal dealings.

The lawsuit, which refers to Harvey Weinstein

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A loss for the human rights movement globally

Feb 13th, 2018 11:53 am | By

Amnesty International on Asma Jahangir.

“For decades, Asma bravely fought for the most disadvantaged people in Pakistan, often at great personal risk. She championed the cause of women, children, bonded labourers, religious minorities, journalists, the disappeared, and so many others. She confronted injustice wherever she saw it,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Asma Jahangir began leading protests as young schoolgirl. At the age of 18, she fought for the release of her father, Malik Ghulam Jilani, who had been arbitrarily detained by the military government of Gen. Yahya Khan, leading to an historic Supreme Court judgment.

A lawyer by training, Asma Jahangir and her sister, Hina Jilani, established Pakistan’s first all women legal firm in Lahore. Their

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Least surprising news ever

Feb 13th, 2018 10:48 am | By

Eugene Robinson at the Post underlines what we’ve always known: Trump was always lying to his “base.” Of course he was. Trump is a corrupt real estate marketer who defrauds his contractors; what does he care about the working class?

Voters who thought President Trump would at least try to fulfill his populist, America-first campaign promises were cynically and cruelly deceived. Trump placates these supporters with rhetoric, distracts them with cultural warfare and encourages them to seek refuge in cultural chauvinism. What he doesn’t do for them is deliver.

Well he does deliver on the racist rhetoric and policies. Maybe watching people being deported is compensation enough?

So is there more money for everybody? No, not for programs that

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Watch: we will put these people down for you

Feb 13th, 2018 9:43 am | By

The awfulness of Sarah Sanders.

She dripped disdain.

She oozed contempt.

“If you were paying attention to what I just read to you . . .” she huffed, like an exasperated teacher reprimanding a classroom troublemaker.

No, worse than that, really. More like an angry prison guard. That horrible scowl of hers goes way beyond exasperated.

Watching the press secretary at Monday’s briefing, the words that came to mind were these: A new low.

Yes, a new rock-bottom from the podium at the Trump White House press briefing.

And that is really saying something, given the lying-from-day-one reign of Sean Spicer, along with Sanders’s own fulsome history of dissembling, and the 10-day flameout of Anthony Scaramucci last summer.

Not … Read the rest

Not July but March

Feb 13th, 2018 9:04 am | By

Oh look, Wray tells us that Trump and his gang have been lying about when they knew about Rob Porter.

Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, contradicted on Tuesday the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president’s former staff secretary. Mr. Wray said that the bureau delivered to the White House a partial report on problems in Mr. Porter’s background in March, months earlier than the White House has admitted receiving the information.

In March. They’ve known for nearly a year.

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Blue apron full of holes and covered in cat food

Feb 13th, 2018 8:13 am | By

Of course. Trump and his gang want to get rid of food stamps and replace them with a box of “staples” of the kind that exclude all perishables i.e. fresh vegetables and fruit, milk, cheese, eggs – you know, anything you’d actually want to eat.

The Trump administration wants to slash food aid to low-income families and make up the difference with a box of canned goods — a change that Office of Management and budget director Mick Mulvaney described in a Monday briefing as a “Blue Apron-type program.”

“What we do is propose that for folks who are on food stamps, part — not all, part — of their benefits come in the actual sort of, and I don’t

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He wants the best for EVERYONE

Feb 12th, 2018 5:20 pm | By

These people.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was tasked Monday with explaining President Trump’s sympathetic comments about alleged spouse abuser Rob Porter. It went about as well as might be expected.

Sanders beat back one question after another about why Trump has suggested that Porter might be innocent but has said nothing about the domestic violence of which Porter stands accused. Then she was asked why Trump opted to go even a step further and wish Porter success in his career — a comment that seemed odd given that this is a man accused of horrible things.

Behold the spin:

“I think the president of the United States hopes that all Americans can be successful in

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Feb 12th, 2018 4:37 pm | By

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Too much spotlight

Feb 12th, 2018 12:33 pm | By

NBC News offers some explanation of why Rachel Brand has quit her job.

The Justice Department’s No. 3 attorney had been unhappy with her job for months before the department announced her departure on Friday, according to multiple sources close to Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.

Brand grew frustrated by vacancies at the department and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation, the sources said.

The sources say the WalMart job had been in the works for some time.

As far back as last fall, Brand had expressed to friends that she felt overwhelmed and unsupported in her job, especially as many key positions under her jurisdiction had still not been filled with permanent,

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The crowd did, in fact, laugh

Feb 12th, 2018 11:42 am | By

Trump’s good friend Duterte has a new idea:

Addressing a group of former communist rebels on Wednesday, Duterte, who served as a city mayor before becoming president, appeared to encourage the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to target women in conflict.

“Tell the soldiers. ‘There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina,’ ” he said.

“If there is no vagina, it would be useless,” Duterte continued, according to local media reports, appearing to imply that women are useless without their genitals.

The president’s communications office included the comment in the official transcript from the event but replaced the word “vagina” with a dash.

Well I’m guessing he didn’t … Read the rest

Nothing but the best

Feb 12th, 2018 11:29 am | By

Scott Pruitt, destroyer of the EPA, is not stinting himself on luxury accommodations on the taxpayer’s dime.

Just days after helping orchestrate the United States’ exit from a global climate accord last June, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt embarked on a whirlwind tour aimed at championing President Trump’s agenda at home and abroad.

On Monday, June 5, accompanied by his personal security detail, Pruitt settled into his $1,641.43 first-class seat for a short flight from the District to New York City. His ticket cost more than six times that of the two media aides who came along and sat in coach, according to agency travel vouchers; the records do not show whether his security detail accompanied him at

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The men who rent the inside of women’s bodies

Feb 12th, 2018 9:29 am | By

Julie Bindel on charity organizations and prostitution:

Just when I thought my opinion of pro-prostitution lobbyists could not get any lower, I see a tweet by one about the Oxfam scandal: “Buying sex from professionals is not sexual misconduct and women in Haiti may well have been glad to get the sex work. I hate prissy Establishment fiddle-faddle implying ‘development’ workers are ethical puritans or saints.”

There you have it. The idea that the women involved in prostitution in Haiti are somehow benefiting from being bought and sold by the very men that are supposed to be helping them cope with their hellish existence.

Let us consider what this person is defending. Oxfam’s country director in Haiti, Roland van

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A reputation for speaking truth to power

Feb 11th, 2018 4:21 pm | By

The Times on Asma Jahangir:

Ms. Jahangir, a human rights lawyer, had a reputation of speaking truth to power and defending the weak and the marginalized, women and minorities against injustice. She gained international acclaim for being the voice of conscience in a country where liberal, secular voices have been continuously under threat.

She was the founding chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent group, and was a trustee of the International Crisis Group. She won several local and international awards and served as the United Nations rapporteur on human rights and extrajudicial killings.

Ms. Jahangir never minced words while defending democracy and human rights, despite threats to her life, both from military dictators and militants.

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We may do something in Moscow

Feb 11th, 2018 3:10 pm | By

Don’t forget, Trump knows nothing of Russia, never had any dealings with Russians, never did any business there, just dropped in for a few minutes to grope the pussies at the Miss Universe Pajjunt.

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Could get worse

Feb 11th, 2018 2:31 pm | By

This from last March is terrifying: the Koch brothers are bankrolling a move to rewrite the Constitution.

A constitutional convention, something thought impossible not long ago, is looking increasingly likely. Under Article V of the US Constitution, if 34 state legislatures “issue a call” for a constitutional convention, Congress must convene one. By some counts, the right wing only needs six more states. Once called, delegates can propose and vote on changes and new amendments to the US Constitution, which, if approved, are currently required to be ratified by 38 states.

There are two major legislative pushes for a convention at the state level. One would attempt to engineer a convention for a balanced budget amendment only, and the

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Asma Jahangir

Feb 11th, 2018 10:01 am | By

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Another comrade gone

Feb 11th, 2018 9:54 am | By

Oh damn. Damn damn damn. Asma Jahangir has died.

Prominent Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66.

She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital, where she later died.

The pro-democracy activist championed women’s rights throughout her career.

She was imprisoned in 1983 and put under house arrest in 2007. Five years ago, leaked documents suggested that some intelligence officers had planned to kill her.

Ms Jahangir called for an inquiry at the time, demanding the government “find the forces who wanted to silence” her.

More recently she spoke out against BBC Persian journalists being put on trial in Iran, as part of her role as UN special

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We need to talk

Feb 11th, 2018 9:44 am | By

Human Rights Watch:

A new law in Poland, threatening to jail those who imply the country had a role in the Holocaust, will likely have a wider chilling effect on free expression.

The law, signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda, makes it a crime punishable by up to three years imprisonment to claim that the Republic of Poland or the Polish nation was responsible for, or participated in, Nazi crimes during the Second World War.

Under the law, the Institute of National Remembrance, a state body tasked with establishing an official historical narrative and prosecuting Nazi and Communist-era crimes, will now also be able to claim compensation from anyone “damaging the reputation” of Poland.

How very Turkish. … Read the rest

Is that a rat we smell?

Feb 10th, 2018 3:31 pm | By

I was thinking of Rachel Brand’s departure as another humiliation for Trump, but that appears to be wrong.

Going to Walmart did seem like a squalid option, but I didn’t push it beyond that.

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Feb 10th, 2018 11:23 am | By

Fortune reports we’ve been downgraded, we who are Yanks.

While U.S. citizens could once claim to be part of the 9% of people in the world governed by a “full democracy,” they are now part of the near 45% who live in a “flawed democracy.”

That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, which downgraded the U.S. in their 2016 Democracy Index published Wednesday. The move puts the U.S. in the same category as Poland, Mongolia, and Italy.

The “full democracy” period must have been quite brief, since before the Voting Rights Act we definitely were not one.

What besides Trump makes us not one?

  • the electoral college
  • gerrymandering
  • voter suppression (made possible by the Shelby ruling)
  • money in
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