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Tuesday :: February 21, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm in court all day (and then again on Thursday and Friday on another case.) I hope Trump doesn't blow up the world this week. Since I'm not reading much news these days except about the supposed cartel infighting in and killings all over Sinaloa this two past weeks, it feels like a load has been lifted.

I'm sure it will change when my schedule gets lighter.

This is an open thread, all topics welome,

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"Not My President's Day" Protests

This is the first year since 2003 TalkLeft did not have a President's Day Post. Why? I don't have a President. Donald Trump doesn't deserve the title. I have yet to call him "President" and I never will. He's the man who somehow got into the oval office. In my opinion, he's nothing but a source source of embarrassment and shame. And I don't believe a word he or his staffers say.

There were protests all over America today, but the number of people protesting were nowhere near the number the numbers that protested his inauguration.

But that's America, where so many have tuned him out. I no longer watch the news or listen to cable networks in the car. I don't want to hear his name or his voice or see his orange face or absurd hairdo. It was different in London today. [More...]

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Milo Y. Loses Book Deal, Gets Canned from Conservative Conference

I don't know who Milo Y. is, but apparently he is with Breitbart News (which I never read.) Some old video of his that has popped up and is recirculating is apparently bad enough that Simon and Schuster has canceled his book deal and CPAC has canceled his speaking invitation.

What did he do in the video?

[He]criticiz[ed] age-of-consent laws and joking about a teenage sexual encounter he had with a Catholic priest.

I'm not sure why anyone cares about this guy, but apparently those who do think he endorsed ped*philia. He denies it (on his Facebook page which I haven't looked at). The Post repeats his comments:[More...]

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Monday :: February 20, 2017

Former CIA Analyst: Trump Is Too Demoralizing

Former CIA analyst and NSC spokesman Edward Price has an op-ed in the Washington Post on why he left the CIA after Donald Trump took the oval office:

Trump’s actions in office have been even more disturbing. His visit to CIA headquarters on his first full day in office, an overture designed to repair relations, was undone by his ego and bluster. Standing in front of a memorial to the CIA’s fallen officers, he seemed to be addressing the cameras and reporters in the room, rather than the agency personnel in front of them, bragging about his inauguration crowd the previous day. Whether delusional or deceitful, these were not the remarks many of my former colleagues and I wanted to hear from our new commander in chief.

The final straw for him was: [More....]

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Sunday :: February 19, 2017

Report Trump May Use National Guard to Round-Up Undocmented

Donald Trump just keeps coming up with bad ideas. This one's a non-starter unless he wants violence in the streets.

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

If this idea originated with his advisers, they are morons. But we knew that already.

I suspect Trump is trying to stay in the news and making sh*t up to draw big headlines. Otherwise, no one would care enough to write or read about him.

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Friday :: February 17, 2017

Friday Open Thread

It's a beautiful day here, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Samsung CEO Jailed in South Korea Corruption Probe

Jay Y. Lee, is the CEO of Samsung. His family is the wealthiest in South Korea. He has a net worth of $6.2 billion and ordinarily lives in a $4 million Seoul mansion. Yesterday he was arrested for "questioning" in a big corruption scandal in South Korea that already resulted in the impeachment of President, Park Geun-Hye. According to Reuters:

[He has been put in a ]71 square foot detention cell with a toilet in the corner behind a partition. He has no shower, only a wash-stand. Bed is a mattress on the floor.

....Meals will be served on plastic trays slid through a small square window in the cell door. Lee is required to wash his own tray. Inside the cell, he can watch TV between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., but only a single channel with recorded programs broadcast by the justice ministry.

Visits are limited to 30 minutes a day, through glass. (His lawyers may visit longer.) The reason for holding him in solitary was to keep him from discussing the case with other detainees. Prosecutors had 10 days to charge him, although they could have asked for an extension.

Last month a judge said there was no reason to detain him pending the investigation (before he was charged.) Prosecutors were very disappointed. They say they now have more evidence, and yesterday, a judge agreed, approving his arrest warrant.

The prison sounds awful (and not much different from those with special housing units in the U.S. holding high profile suspected criminals (like El Chapo).

He has not yet been charged with a crime. [More...]

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Thursday :: February 16, 2017

Gun Buyer in San Bernardino Shooting Pleads Guilty

Enrique Marquez, Jr., 25, the one time next door neighbor of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his straw purchase of two rifles he bought for Farook in 2012, which Farook then used during the 2015 San Bernardino shootings.

He also pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorists, which carries a possible sentence of up to 25 years. But the charge wasn't about the San Bernardino shootings -- it was related to two unconsummated attacks he planned with "Rizwan" in 2012. It sounds like but for him agreeing to multiple FBI interviews, the FBI would never learned of them.

According to the plea agreement, available here, see pages 16 to 23, Marquez was not involved in the San Bernardino shootings, didn't know they were going to happen and was at work when they did happen. He had no contact with Farook after the shooting attack and before the police shootout.

In 2011 and 2012 he conspired with "Rizwan" (as the government now calls him) Farook to attack their school, Riverside City College (RCC) and commuter traffic on the 91 Freeway. While he and "Rizwan" prepped for the attacks in various ways, the attacks never happened and he disassociated from "Rizwan" and the plot in 2012.

So three years later, "Rizwan" uses the rifles to kill people, and Marquez pleads guilty to providing material support to terrorists in a planned attack years earlier that he abandoned and which never occurred. [More...]

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Tuesday :: February 14, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust: Flynn's Resignation Letter

Here is Michael Flynn's resignation letter. The NY Times reports Trump was told weeks ago he lied about his contacts with Russia.

The Trump administration is in turmoil, a rudderless ship facing constant upheavals. Trump is bad for the nation and bad for the world. He should just admit the job is over his head and resign, taking his unimportant, ill-equipped counselors with him.

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Valentine's Day Open Thread

From our heart to yours, Happy Valentine's Day!

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Sunday :: February 12, 2017

Grammys Tonight with James Corden Hosting

The Grammys' red carpet starts here in 30 minutes. I'm sure it's already streaming online, but as usual, the online websites are so disorganized, cluttered and slow, I'm not bothering. I'll wait to watch the condensed version on live TV.

The Grammy Awards website says there are 59 reasons to watch. I can think of one (besides the musical performances): James Corden is hosting.

Esquire has a new feature profile on James in its March issue, which you can read now here.

This thread is for the Grammys (not an open thread.) [More...]

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Sunday Night Open Thread

I have a separate thread up for the Grammys.

Here's an open thread for everything else.

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Snowden: A Gift or a Trade, or Just Fake News?

First, I don't believe the NBC News story that Russia intends to gift Edward Snowden to the U.S. The whole story seems to emanate from a suggestion former CIA deputy director Mike Morrell made last month:

What better way for President Putin to cement the personal tie than to give the President-Elect a high-profile gift -- Snowden. At the same time, what better way for President Putin to poke his finger in the eye of his adversary Barack Obama than to put Snowden on a plane at the very moment Mr. Obama is no longer president?

The New York Times reported on Morrell's suggestion and mentioned that Russia recently extended Snowden's residency for a few years. According to the New York Times, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, addressed Morrell directly on Facebook:

“You spoke, Mr. Morrell, and now it’s clear to everybody that in your office, it’s normal to bring gifts in the form of people, and to hand over those who seek defense.”

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Saturday :: February 11, 2017

Dominican Newspaper Posts Photo of Baldwin as Trump

Too funny. El Nacional, a newspaper in the Dominican Republic carried an article on Donald Trump and Israel. But it mistakenly posted a photo of Alec Baldwin as Trump, next to a correct photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The paper has now issued a correction.

So will Trump add the Dominican Republic to his ban? Probably not, since Eric Trump just visited there last week, and may plan to relaunch a long ago stalled business project there called Cap Cana (that ended in lawsuits.)

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Sears and K-Mart Remove Ivanka Trump Merchandise

Ivanka Trump merchandise will no longer be available to purchase online by Sears and KMart, due to lagging sales.

“As part of the company’s initiative to optimize its online product assortment, we constantly refine that assortment to focus on our most profitable items … Amid that streamlining effort, 31 Trump Home items were among the items removed online this week,” spokesperson Brian Hanover announced.

Thank you Sears and KMart. (They don't carry Trump branded items in their stores.)

The WSJ reports that sales of Ivanka Trump merchandise started slumping big time weeks before the election. Nordstrom's denies giving its sales data to the WSJ. [More...]

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