All entries by this author

A small token of his esteem

Nov 29th, 2018 5:50 pm | By

BuzzFeed reports that the Trump gang was planning to bribe Putin with a $50 million dollar penthouse in the proposed Moscow tower building.

President Donald Trump’s company planned to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 campaign, according to four people, one of them the originator of the plan.

The Trump Tower Moscow plan is at the heart of a new plea agreement by Cohen, who led the negotiations to bring a gleaming, 100-story building to the Russian capital. Cohen acknowledged in court that he had lied to Congress about the plan in order to protect Trump and his presidential

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While subjecting witnesses to a variety of abuse

Nov 29th, 2018 5:00 pm | By

Comey is seeking to quash the subpoena, on account of how he doesn’t want to talk to Congress behind closed doors because the Republicans cheat.

Former FBI Director James Comey has filed a motion in federal court in Washington to quash a congressional subpoena issued just before Thanksgiving soliciting his testimony on the FBI’s actions leading up to the 2016 election.

Comey has said previously that he would be willing to testify publicly, but did not want to do it behind closed doors.

In Thursday’s filing, his lawyers argue that the House Judiciary and Oversight committees “have conducted an investigation in a manner that exceeds a proper legislative purpose insofar as members of the committees have established a practice

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Swastikas on the wall

Nov 29th, 2018 12:37 pm | By

Meanwhile, uptown, a psychology professor at Columbia Teachers College and some students head to her office.

As they entered her workspace, they passed a mezuza, a small box containing Hebrew religious texts, affixed to her doorpost.

But the sight that met them next made the professor and her students stop in their tracks.

Anti-Semitic graffiti had been spray-painted on the office walls of Elizabeth Midlarsky, a clinical psychologist and Holocaust scholar at Columbia’s Teachers College on the Upper West Side of New York. The vandalism included swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur, “Yid,” painted in bright red on the white walls of her office foyer. The outer door had been closed but not locked, one student said.

“I was shocked.

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A high likelihood of rampant criminality

Nov 29th, 2018 11:51 am | By

Paul Waldman at the Post says Mueller is closing in on Trump.

When he spoke to reporters about this Thursday, Trump stressed over and over that it would have been perfectly fine for him to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, as he had long sought to do. Legally speaking, that’s true. But given the controversy around Trump’s solicitousness toward Vladimir Putin and the growing realization that Russia was intervening in the campaign on his behalf, through 2016 it was important for him to distance himself publicly from Russia, which he did many times by stressing that he had no investments there.

But also there’s a thing Neal Katyal said:

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Individual 1 explains all

Nov 29th, 2018 9:39 am | By

“I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign,” he assures us.

“There was a letter,” he says, and helpfully draws a rectangle in the air, in case we don’t know what a letter is.

ANYway, point is, Michael Cohen is a weak person, and not a very smart person.

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Why Individual 1 was such a friend to Putin

Nov 29th, 2018 8:54 am | By


Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, who pleaded guilty in August to breaking campaign finance laws, made a surprise appearance in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday morning and pleaded guilty to a new criminal charge, the latest turn in the special counsel’s investigation of Mr. Trump and his inner circle.

At the court hearing, Mr. Cohen admitted to making false statements to Congress about his efforts to build a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. That real estate deal has been a focus of the special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian operatives.

Oooops. That sounds big. Lawfare has posted the docs for us, and from what I’ve … Read the rest

Artemis and Athena are not impressed

Nov 28th, 2018 5:14 pm | By

This crap again. A conference called PantheaCon, meaning I assume AllthegoddessesCon, explains why after inviting the well-known scholar Max Dashu to speak it then told her to stay away. It explains, of course, by pouring abuse on Max and licking the bums of people it claims would be terrified by her presence.

To the trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming members of the PantheaCon community:

It was a mistake to include Max Dashu in the program and I want to personally apologize to each of you. I have communicated with many of you directly and have read every letter sent personally. I want to apologize for my part in causing the fear, pain, and sense of exclusion that many of you

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Epstein’s heavy-hitting lawyers

Nov 28th, 2018 3:51 pm | By

Via Screechy Monkey in the Miscellany Room, the Miami Herald on the plea agreement that spared Jeffrey Epstein a long prison sentence:

On a muggy October morning in 2007, Miami’s top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz.

[Lefkowitz’s] client, Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day, the Town of Palm Beach police found.

He was also suspected of trafficking young girls for “parties” with his friends.

Facing a

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[Trump speaks off the record.]

Nov 28th, 2018 12:19 pm | By

In their talk with Trump yesterday Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker asked him about the Mueller-Manafort breakup.

DAWSEY: People around you have told me you’re upset about the way he’s been treated. Are you planning to do anything to help him?

TRUMP: Let me go off the record because I don’t want to get in the middle of the whole thing.

[Trump speaks off the record.]

DAWSEY: Is there any version of that you’re willing to give us on the record in answer to that question?

TRUMP: I’d rather not. At some point, I’ll talk on the record about it. But I’d rather not.

[Trump speaks off the record.]

So it’s not likely that was an uncomplicated “no,” then. He’s … Read the rest

Inflamed tensions

Nov 27th, 2018 9:05 pm | By


A lawyer for Paul Manafort, the president’s onetime campaign chairman, repeatedly briefed President Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators after Mr. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, according to one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and two other people familiar with the conversations.


The arrangement was highly unusual and inflamed tensions with the special counsel’s office when prosecutors discovered it after Mr. Manafort began cooperating two months ago, the people said. Some legal experts speculated that it was a bid by Mr. Manafort for a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in hopes of a lighter sentence.

Whatever it was a bid for, it’s dirty … Read the rest

Trump reports he has a very high level of intelligence

Nov 27th, 2018 5:17 pm | By

The Post had a conversation with Trump today; it went as well as you’d expect.

In a wide-ranging and sometimes discordant 20-minute interview with The Washington Post, Trump complained at length about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. “Jay” Powell, whom he nominated earlier this year. When asked about declines on Wall Street and GM’s announcement that it was laying off 15 percent of its workforce, Trump responded by criticizing higher interest rates and other Fed policies, though he insisted that he is not worried about a recession.

“I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s

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The view across Elysium Planitia

Nov 27th, 2018 4:42 pm | By

InSight is sending photos home.

Looks a bit like Texas.

This is the view across Elysium Planitia, the vast lava plain near the equator of Mars, where Nasa’s InSight lander touched down after a hair-raising descent on Monday. The probe snapped the image of the desolate landscape as the dust thrown up by its arrival was still settling around it.

Over the coming days, InSight will take more photos of the landing site and send them back to Earth, where scientists will use them to decide where the probe should place its instruments.

Isn’t it strange that as a species we’re clever enough to do this, yet we still elect a Donald Trump president? Or we go on a … Read the rest


Nov 27th, 2018 12:16 pm | By

DTrump is having a tough day. Not as tough as those teargassed asylum-seekers had, but tough. Not one but two shoes hit the floor with a crash.

The first development came when special counsel Robert S. Mueller III asked a federal court to begin sentencing proceedings for Manafort, sentencing that was on hold while Manafort cooperated with Mueller’s team. According to the filing: “After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.”

That could be bad for Trump as well as for Manafort.

First, it’s unlikely that Mueller would be withdrawing Manafort’s plea agreement

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Human rights are not “Western”

Nov 27th, 2018 11:41 am | By

Maryam posted a Manifesto on Women and Secularism:

International Conference on Sharia, Segregation and Secularism
25 November 2018, London

Today, far-Right movements, including religious fundamentalisms, are seizing power and on the rise in both democratic and authoritarian states. Even in more secularised societies, religious organisations have gained power because they have been considered valuable allies – to provide services as the state shrinks, to oppose radical social justice movements, as part of counter-terror strategies and post conflict ‘stabilisation,’ and as part of the privatisation of law. From development banks to Western aid and human rights organisations, fundamentalists, particularly Islamists, have been promoted in the name of minority and religious rights. The growth of community based ‘Sharia’ and other parallel

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It’s a very minor form of tear gas

Nov 27th, 2018 11:22 am | By

Trump is fine with teargassing children (and of course adults).

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Easy for him to say

Nov 27th, 2018 10:40 am | By

Peter Tatchell does keep getting this wrong.

First of all the priority. Trans rights first, women’s rights the also-ran. What the hell. First of all that’s one of the core reasons for this whole conflict: this relentless insistence that trans rights are far more important and urgent than boring old women’s rights. Second, why? Why put trans rights first? Women are half of everyone; trans people are a … Read the rest


Nov 26th, 2018 5:35 pm | By

Mars from a mere 4,700 miles away.

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He thought they wouldn’t know

Nov 26th, 2018 5:01 pm | By

Oopsie. You know how Manafort agreed to a plea deal in exchange for getting some charges dismissed? Well he went and lied to the prosecutors after signing the deal, which means they’re filing those charges again.

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, repeatedly lied to federal investigators in breach of a plea agreement he signed two months ago, the special counsel’s office said in a court filing late on Monday.

Prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said Mr. Manafort’s “crimes and lies” about “a variety of subject matters relieve them of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement. But under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Manafort cannot withdraw his guilty

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Nov 26th, 2018 1:43 pm | By

Trump has had a busy day not believing things he hasn’t read.

President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed a study produced by his own administration, involving 13 federal agencies and more than 300 leading climate scientists, warning of the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change.

Why, you ask?

“I don’t believe it,” Trump told reporters on Monday, adding that he had read “some” of the report.

The cover, maybe?

Anyway. There is more than one kind of not believing. There’s the kind that involves knowledge of the thing to be believed or not believed, and then there’s the other kind. You can count on Trump to practice always the other kind.

If you missed the study’s release, well, that

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Guest post: Instruments of social control

Nov 26th, 2018 12:42 pm | By

Originally a comment by Freemage on There are wheels that have been squeaking for a lot longer.

Religion is an instrument of societal control, but the New Atheist dream that a world without religion would immediately cast off the old chains has been largely and soundly debunked, primarily by the actions and rhetoric of the New Atheists, themselves. Undermining religious conservatives, in particular, does deal with one stumbling block, but it helps to remember there are progressive religionists, too (Quakers, for instance, tend to be a decade or two on the right side of historical changes), who can be counted upon as allies in fights against oppression, at least so long as their atheist counterparts don’t kick things off … Read the rest