Saturday :: July 22, 2017

Jefferson Sessions vs. Sergey Kislyak: Whom to Believe?

According to the Washington Post:

Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

The source of information is current and former U.S. officials. Did Donald Trump order this leaked as payback for Sessions' recusal or Sessions' statement this week he won't step down? If so, the only person I can think of who fights dirtier is Senor de los Cielos. [More...]

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The Extraordinary Wealth of Jared and Ivanka Trump

The Washington Post has a new article on Jared and Ivanka amending their financial disclosures to disclose additional assets. That's not the interesting part of the story.

The interesting part is how together they have earned more than $100 million since 2016 and have more than $200 million in assets. [More....]

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Friday :: July 21, 2017

Donald Trump on Sessions' Russia Recusal

[Note: I wrote this Wednesday and it got stuck in draft mode]

Donald Trump's recent interview with the New York Times reads like a self-pity party. He berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his recusal on the Russia Probe and said he wouldn't have hired him had he known he would recuse himself. He said the recusal was unfair to him [More...]

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Thursday :: July 20, 2017

Thursday Open Thread

Sorry about the lack of open threads the past few days. Here's a new one, all topics welcome.

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OJ Simpson Granted Parole

Update: the vote was unanimous for parole among the four board/commission members. Each spoke individually. They said their vote was fair and consistent.

Update: Looks like OJ will get parole. They have a Florida parole officer explaining the procedures for transfer from Nevada to Florida.

OJ told his version of the robbery he was convicted of during the hearing. It's live on CNN and other channels now.

My view: OJ should get and will get parole. [More...]

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Second Circuit Voids Former London Trader Convictions

The Second Circuit has voided the convictions of two former London traders.

Allen and Conti, who worked for Dutch-headquartered Rabobank [RABO.UL], were convicted in November 2015 of fraud and conspiracy for trying to rig U.S. dollar and Japanese yen Libor.

They were sentenced to two years and one year in prison, respectively, but remained free during the appeal.

The case is United States v. Allen and the opinion is here.[More...]

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Wednesday :: July 19, 2017

Ride Sally Ride, Continued

I'm more into riding my Peloton and watching the new season of Senor de los Cielos than I am reading about Donald Trump and Russia. (Warning: auto-play video on SDLOC link.)

I've had the bike for two weeks now and have taken 26 rides. Some were only 5 minute instructional classes, but some were 20 and 45 minute full-length classes with difficulty ratings of 7 and 8 (out of 10). I promised a review when it first came, and here it is: In a nutshell, I absolutely love it. [More...]

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As the Worms Squirm: People Mag. Turns on Trump

[Note: Turn off your computer speakers before reading further, there's auto-play video on the links below-- no avoiding them.)

Is the media turning on Donald Trump and his family ? Check out the new issue of People Magazine. The cover is a photo of Donald Trump, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Jared. (No Eric or Tiffany or Melania.) The Cover reads, "The Trump Family Secrets and Lies." It adds:

Donald Trump taught his children to fight dirty and win, no matter the cost. How the ruthless family culture has shaped Don Jr., his siblings, and the Presidency

The headline to one article on Donald, Jr., reads, "‘Stay Away from Donnie Trump’: Inside Don Jr.’s Drinking, Womanizing and Frat Guy Antics'". It cites and links to a 2004 New York Magazine article in which the author interviewed Trump, Jr. and his college classmates.


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Supreme Court Upholds Grandparent Exemption to Travel Ban

The Supreme Court has dispensed with Trump's appeal of the Hawaii court order on his travel ban in a very short Order, available here.

The Court upheld the 'Grandparent' Exemption To Trump Travel Ban'. It also stayed the Hawaii Court's exemption of refugees, pending resolution by the full 9th Circuit.

The justices, in a brief order, rejected the administration’s request that it clarify the scope of their decision last month temporarily reinstating the ban but allowing people with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” to enter the country. The court said the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, should address the question.

And no surprise here: The judges who would have blocked implementation of the Hawaii Court's order, even on grandparents, as the case winds through the 9th Circuit Appeals Court: Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch.

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Monday :: July 17, 2017

Eagles Reunion Concert

Speaking of music, a reconstituted Eagles performed this weekend in Los Angeles at the Dodgers Stadium. Joining remaining members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt, were Deacon Frey (son of Glenn Frey, photo above) and Vince Gill. Also appearing as a special guest for a song was Bob Seger.

Forbes has a good recap of the concert but I'm not linking due to flashing ads and auto play video --Forbes is one of the worst offenders. [More....]

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Trump's New Theme Party: "Made In America"

Made in America week is already backfiring, with the attention on Trump clothes and products made in China, Peru and elsewhere.

Some better songs (than Toby Keith):

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Sunday :: July 16, 2017

The Trumps and Russia: Too Many Coincidences, Too Many Lawyers

[Note: This is a very, very long post. I wrote it over the weekend, finished it last night and have not yet thoroughly proofed it for typos, grammar, out of order paragraphs or repetitions, and I probably won't until tonight since today is a work day. I'll erase this note when I've done all that.]


There are now so many Trump camp lawyers in the Russia investigations,they seem to be stepping on themselves as they try to control the damage to their individual client, without overtly sinking another family member. Sure, there are those who wonder whether one or more of the lawyers are intentionally trying to shift blame to another lawyer's client, but I'm not a conspiracy theorist and while I can't speak to Trump's lawyers, never having heard of them before, I don't think the criminal defense lawyers involved for Kushner or Donald, Jr. play that way. Nor do I think there's a conspiracy by disgruntled FBI agents to leak information obtained from Kushner's team to get back at Trump for firing James Comey. That's just too convoluted for me to buy into.

What I find significant: [More...]

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Trump's Poll Numbers Continue to Fall

Donald Trump's approval ratings continue to fall. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll says he is down to 36%, the lowest since Gerald Ford.

Approaching six months in office, Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped to 36 percent from 42 percent in April. His disapproval rating has risen five points to 58 percent. Overall, 48 percent say they “disapprove strongly” of Trump’s performance in office, a level never reached by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reached only in the second term of George W. Bush in Post-ABC polling.

The actual poll results are here. [More...]

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Saturday :: July 15, 2017

Media Rakes Don Jr. Over the Coals

This is Time Magazine's cover this week featuring Donald Trump, Jr. Check out the larger version and the white writing on it.

Here's a funny article from the UK Independent comparing him to "Fredo" Corleone.

Shepard Smith has long been one of the few news anchors/talk show hosts I enjoy watching (and listening to in the car.) This rant against the Trump Camp for its "lies after lies" and his take on Donald Trump, Jr.'s evolving explanations of the Russian meeting is making the rounds. It's one of his best. Media Matters has the transcript.

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Saturday Open Thread: An Unexpected Gift for Blogging

I got an unexpected gift yesterday, and it's a huge one that frees me from the mainstream media's online news sites with their auto play video, intrusive ads, and poorly scaled websites. From a blogging perspective, I feel like I won the lottery. Thank you Lexis Nexis!

For those of you who don't practice law, Lexis is the legal research stuff and Nexis is the news stuff. [More...]

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