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Sunday :: March 26, 2017

Iraq Suspends Mosul Advance Due to High Civilian Deaths

Iraq has suspended its advance on ISIS in Mosul due to the vast increase in civilian deaths from coalition bombings.

Iraqi military leaders have halted their push to recapture west Mosul from Islamic State as international outrage grew over the civilian toll from airstrikes that killed at least 150 people in a single district of the city.

The attack on the Mosul Jadida neighbourhood is thought to have been one of the deadliest bombing raids for civilians since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Rescuers were still pulling bodies from the rubble on Saturday, more than a week after the bombs landed, when the US-led coalition confirmed that its aircraft had targeted Isis fighters in the area.

The U.S. has launched an official investigation.

Donald Trump previously called for a review of Obama's rules ensuring civilian deaths would be minimized. There's concern he's already lowered the threshold. [More...]

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Friday :: March 24, 2017

Trump Blames Dems For Failure of Health Care Bill

TrumpCare is dead. Republicans, not having enough votes, pulled the bill.

Trump is not "the closer" he thought he was. The Washington Post reports: [More...]

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Friday Open Thread

There are many things more interesting in the world to discuss than Donald Trump, that don't leave you wanting to take a shower.

Univision/Netflix has announced the lead for its new original series based on the life of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera that will air on Univision beginning April 23. He is Marco de la O. Here's his twitter page. He certainly looks the part, although he appears to be Colombian.

Telemundo's El Chema, very very loosely based on El Chapo, is now in its final episodes. It was really well done, all of the characters were well cast and interesting. It will leave a big hole in my TV viewing when it ends. Last week Chema formed a partnership with a corrupt DEA agent and a CIA agent in Central America and the Contras to get his cocaine into America. [More...]

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Thursday :: March 23, 2017

Senate Votes to Repeal Internet Privacy Rules

The Senate has voted to repeal internet privacy rules enacted under President Obama:

According to the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.

The vote was a victory for internet providers such as AT&T Inc (T.N), Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), which had strongly opposed the rules.

Excessive intrusive advertising, especially auto-play video and non-properly scaled, ad-laden and ugly-as* news websites have already ruined the internet. [More...]

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Trump Threatens GOP on Health Care Bill

Trump issues an ultimatum to Republicans on his health care bill: Take it or I'll move on.

Republicans should tell him to move on.

The move was a high-risk gamble for the president and speaker, who have both invested significant political capital in passing legislation that would rewrite the 2010 Affordable Care Act. For Trump, who campaigned as a skilled dealmaker capable of forging a good deal on behalf of Americans, it could either vindicate or undercut one of his signature claims. If the measure fails, it would mean that Obamacare — something that congressional Republicans have railed against for seven years — would remain in place.

[More...]

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Wednesday :: March 22, 2017

Trump, Russian Connections, Falsehoods and an Empty Gin Bottle

Spicer can try all he wants to distance Trump from Paul Manafort, but until Donald Trump removes his campaign website, his past announcements about Manafort are there for all to see. Spicy yesterday:

Spicer on Monday described the former campaign chairman as someone “who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.” He also said Manafort was hired in June, even though he was brought on board in March.
As Foreign Policy reports, ..."White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon led the Trump campaign for 83 days, compared to Manafort’s 144 days"

Factcheck from Trump's campaign website: Trump announces Manafort joining team, 3/29/16 [More...]

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Wednesday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: March 21, 2017

Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

Donald Trump is the rudest person ever. He's interrupted Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing to have Spicy give a press conference. CNN is out of service on my TV, Fox and MSNBC are airing the presser. Online is the only place for the hearing right now.

While I was driving, I heard him talk about civil litigants needing access to the courts. He talks a lot about himself and sports. He's not the most exciting personality.

I have no doubt he'll be confirmed, but I can think of a lot worse choices Trump could have made. I suspect Trump's aides went through their "opinions matching Scalia" file and he came up on top. [More...]

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Monday :: March 20, 2017

Ivanka Trump to Get West Wing Office Space

Does this family ever tell the truth about anything? Via Politico:

Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington, D.C., saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House.

The powerful first daughter has secured her own office on the West Wing’s second floor — a space next to senior adviser Dina Powell, who was recently promoted to a position on the National Security Council. She is also in the process of obtaining a security clearance, and is set to receive government-issued communications devices this week.

Ivanka has also lawyered up, with the same lawyer representing her husband on conflict issues (who publicly assured us all there were none): Former Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick. [More...]

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ICE Releases "Declined Detainer" Report

DHS today, following Donald Trump's Executive Order on public safety in January, released an ICE report with a week's worth of numbers for detainers requested and their outcome. The report is called "a Declined Detainer Outcome Report."

The Declined Detainer Outcome Report is a weekly report that shows those jurisdictions with the highest volume of declined detainers, and includes a list of sample crimes associated with those released individuals. This report is mandated by the president’s executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”

The full report, covering 1/28 to 2/3/17 is here.

The report is merely an attempt to create a shaming list. Non-compliance with an ICE detainer request is nothing to be ashamed of. ICE detainer requests are just that -- requests -- they are not orders, and compliance is voluntary. [More...]

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Trump Kids Visit Aspen, 100 Secret Service Agents In Tow

There were anti-Trump protests in Aspen today where the Trump siblings and their children, along with their Secret Service entourage, are visiting for a family holiday.

The Aspen Times reports Donald Trump's adult children are visiting Aspen (with their 8 children) this weekend, along with their Secret Service Agent entourage, which are estimated to include 100 agents.

Props to Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo who says his agency will not be providing security for the Trump kids' vacation:

the U.S. Secret Service has not contacted him about the visit, DiSalvo said. Regardless, he said he would not offer his department’s aid for their visit.

“We’re doing absolutely nothing,” DiSalvo said of assisting the Secret Service. “Our responsibility is to the president and the first lady, not friends or family members.”

The Secret Service signed a contract with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (which teaches local young children to ski) for $12, 208.25, but it looks like they fudged on what it was for: The contract says rental ski equipment and clothing, but the club doesn't rent ski equipment. And the Club's director says he doesn't know anything about the contract. And, get this, the contract had a phony phone and fax number. [More...]

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Sunday :: March 19, 2017

Congress Should Reject Trump's $33 Billion Supplemental Budget Request

The media is all agog over an upcoming hearing over Trump's ridiculous wiretap claims. I could care less. It's another distraction. Far more important things are at stake right now -- like our hard-earned dollars that he wants to throw away in support of his right-wing, Unamerican agenda.

What everyone should be doing is calling, writing, and emailing their elected representatives in Congress to demand they reject Trump's supplemental funding request for $33 billion which he just submitted to the House on Friday, March 16. Here is Trump's letter to Congress and the breakdown of the numbers from the White House Budget Office explaining what he is asking for.[More...]

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Sunday Open Thread: The Shame of America

I have had nothing to say about Donald Trump or his Administration the past few days. He's become a boring distraction, and an non-entertaining one at that.

In the long run, Trump won't make a bit of difference in the world, unless he manages to get us all blown up with his bloviating and incompetence.

It is beyond disappointing that each of his trips to his hotel in Palm Beach cost the U.S. $3 million in security, and beyond selfish that security costs for his wife and son who can't be inconvenienced to change schools in the middle of the year cost taxpayers $1 million a day. The two reactions the man and his family provoke: wanting to shower or retch. [More...]

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Saturday :: March 18, 2017

R.I.P. Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry has died at age 90. What a legend and what an enormous talent. In this video, watch him dance at about 1:17 in.

R.I.P. Chuck Berry

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Wednesday :: March 15, 2017

Fed. Judge Halts Trump's Immigration Order Nationally

A federal judge in Hawaii has issued a nationwide order blocking Trump's new immigration order.

The Judge issued his 43 page Order two hours after the hearing ended. The opinion is here.[More...]

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