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Monday :: July 16, 2018

Near Unanimity: Trump Flops in Helsinki

It's virtually unanimous: Donald Trump pooped on himself and the United States today at his big Helsinki summit. The adjectives for his pitiful performance are boundless, and coming from both sides.

The New York Times:

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

The cover of tomorrow's NY Daily News shows Trump shooting Uncle Sam, with a caption "Open Treason".

Former CIA Director John Brennan:

Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???

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Saturday :: July 14, 2018

Saturday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. I'd like nothing better than to hang around today and chat, but I'm about to head up to the jail in Georgetown. Georgetown is the last exit on I-70 heading west from Denver before the Eisenhower tunnel. It's a beautiful day for the ride.

I know there's a Russian indictment and a new Supreme Court Justice and Donald Trump is out of the Country. Rising on the UK Music charts: Green Day's "American Idiot".

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: July 11, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread: All Over the Place

Sorry, I've been running around and meeting deadlines and today I have to drive to the state prison in Limon (90 miles away) and tomorrow to the jail in Georgetown (50 miles away) and it's 99 degrees here. The plumbing pipes are being replaced in my building so for three weeks the water has been shut off from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No water, no shower, no toilet use. Really a pain.

I'll be back as soon as I can. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: July 04, 2018

NZ Appeals Court Rules Kim Dotcom Can Be Extradited

Kim Dotcom lost a big case today in the New Zealand Court of Appeals. The court ruled that "all pathways" of the U.S. for his extradition are open. Here is the court's press release, the summary of the judgment and the 120 page decision is here.

The Court confirmed that the principle of dual criminality is alive and well -- but that didn't save Dotcom, even though New Zealand doesn't have a specific law criminalizing copyright infringement.

Legislative history, English and Canadian authority and principles of extradition law all suggest that the conduct with which a person is charged must be criminal under both United States and New Zealand law before they can be extradited.

In making that finding, the court overuled a Canadian case, Cullinane v United States of America [2003] 2 NZLR 1 (CA) is overruled.

So on what grounds did they authorize the extradition?

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Trump Wanted to Invade Venezuela

Donald Trump pressed his aides on why the U.S. couldn't just invade Venezuela. He also floated the idea to leaders of Latin and South American countries, like Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia.

He raised it again at a dinner, and even told the foreign leaders his staff said he shouldn't talk about it:

Then in September, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Santos, the same three people said and Politico reported in February. The U.S. official said Trump was specifically briefed not to raise the issue and told it wouldn’t play well, but the first thing the president said at the dinner was, “My staff told me not to say this.” Trump then went around asking each leader if they were sure they didn’t want a military solution, according to the official, who added that each leader told Trump in clear terms they were sure.

Will America survive a reality TV star with zero political experience who knows nothing about history and is viewed around the world as an unpredictable petulant child to be snickered at and swatted away like a fly? Probably, but we'll never be the same. In one and half years, the idea of America as the beacon of liberty in the world has become a joke.

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Sunday :: July 01, 2018

Mexico's AMLO is no Donald Trump

I wish the media would stop comparing Mexico's presumed next President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to Donald Trump.

López Obrador could not be more different than Donald Trump. He's been a "leftist" all his life. His beef is with official corruption and the "power mafia" in politics, and poverty.

He does not want to escalate the war on drugs. End the corruption and poverty and you will end the violence. He is open to considering legalizing drugs and amnesty for traffickers. [More..]

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Saturday :: June 30, 2018

Weekend Open Thread

I've been busy at work and not reading much news. It's usually about Donald Trump.

I'm taking the weekend off from him. I'll follow the election news in Mexico instead. The past two weeks on Senor de los Cielos, Aurelio (the drug trafficker loosely based on Amado Carrillo Fuentes who reportedly died in 1997 after plastic surgery) has been kidnapping each presidential candidate and then grilling them on their position on legalizing drugs and extradition. He's trying to decide which one to make President. One is obviously a takeoff onAndrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). Aurelio doesn't like him much. In real life, Lopez-Obrador is way ahead in the polls. He's described as a leftist, and this isn't his first rodeo, so I don't know why so people are comparing him to Trump.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: June 27, 2018

Justice Kennedy Announces Retirement

Just yesterday I wrote about how important it is to consider that whoever is elected president will decide who serves on the Supreme and other federal courts. Today Justice Kennedy announced his retirement. Unfortunately, since voters in some important states that should have gone blue in 2016 voted for Donald Trump, we are in for a dismal few years of replacement judges.

Hypocritical Republicans of course want the Senate to swiftly confirm whoever Trump picks. Not so fast. Remember when Republicans wouldn't vote on Obama's choice for a Supreme Court justice because it was too close to the election and they wanted the victor in the election to choose? Well, what's good for the goose may be good for the gander. Sen. Schumer is promising there will be no vote on a Trump-selected replacement for Kennedy before the elections.

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Tuesday :: June 26, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Travel Ban, Overrules Korematsu

In a 5-4 decision today, the Supreme Court upheld Trump's odious travel ban. (Opinion is here).

A positive note in the ruling: It finally overrules the Court's ruling in Korematsu v. U.S approving Japanese interment camps. [More...]

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Sunday :: June 24, 2018

Stephen Miller, Steven King: Birds of a Feather

The Forward has an article titled "Why Stephen Miller Is The Most Hated Jew In America — By Fellow Jews"

How did we get stuck with him? Michael Wolff, in his book Fire and Fury, says Steve Bannon, who brought him on board, used to refer to Miller as "my typist." [More...]

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Trump: No Court, No Judge, Just Immediate Removal

Donald Trump continues his outlandish attempts to rip the fabric of our country's most cherished principles: Today it's due process.

According to Trump, we don't need no stinkin' trials, or judges.

“When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came,” he said.

Does he even know that the law provides for asylum and that asylum seekers enter the country lawfully?

“What President Trump has suggested here is both illegal and unconstitutional. Any official who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws should disavow it unequivocally,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Trump says "Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order." What's next? Will he argue that migrants without proper papers should be shot at the border, so we don't have to pay to return them? I wouldn't be surprised.

It's not our system that's a mockery, it is Donald Trump that has made a mockery of America.

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Jared's Peace Deal Doesn't Include Abbas

I don't know how you make a peace deal in the Middle East without Israel and Palestine being on board. Jared is going to do it we're told, even without Abbas. He thinks his plan is so good he can just release it to the media and the Palestinian people will want to accept it, even if their leaders don't.

Sounds like he's going to offer the Palestinians some real or imaginary economic benefits in hopes that will get them so unified they demand their leaders accept the deal.

My thought: Trump must be expecting a very bad week with Mueller and thus wants to deflect attention from what's coming -- so he's bringing out Jared, dusting him off and announcing a one-sided peace deal.

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Friday :: June 22, 2018

Supreme Court Rules Warrant Needed for Cell Site Location Data

Huge, ground-breaking decision from the Supreme Court today! In a 7 to 2 ruling, the Court said a search warrant is needed for cops to obtain cell site location information from phone companies.

The opinion is here.

The case before us involves the Government’s acquisition of wireless carrier cell-site records revealing the location of Carpenter’s cell phone whenever it made orreceived calls. This sort of digital data—personal location information maintained by a third party—does not fit neatly under existing precedents.

More....

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James Corden for Mayor of the World

James Corden for Mayor of the World.

During one of the worst and most shameful weeks in recent American history, evoking nothing but disgust for the vulgarian in the oval office and his wife who is either beyond tone deaf or truly doesn't give a sh*t (as evident from the jacket she wore to board a plane taking her to the border for her photo op and unsuccessful attempt at damage control), James Corden got to escape to London, where he put on joyful shows all week.

The highlight of the week was Thursday night and the carpool karaoke with Paul McCartney. It began traditionally, and then broke the mold. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but it was an absolute joy to watch. [More...]

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Thursday :: June 21, 2018

Thursday Open Thread

Stephen Miller's great-grandfather flunked his citizenship test. Check out #Resistance Genealogy. "Unless your ancestors came on a slave ship or you’re Native American,” you came here as an immigrant, says Jennifer Mendelsohn, who created the #resistancegenealogy hashtag last summer".

More on Miller here.

The Sheriff in El Paso County, TX has refused to allow deputies working overtime to work at temporary shelters housing migrant children:

The El Paso County sheriff prohibited his deputies from working off-duty at a temporary shelter housing migrant children, saying he refused to support the Trump administration’s “unjust” policy of separating families at the border.

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