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Thursday :: December 14, 2017

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

The FCC today voted to repeal net neutrality rules.

The agency scrapped the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone service.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai joined with the two Republican members of the FCC to make the vote a 3-2 decision.

His views read like trickle-down falsities to me: [More...]

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Tavis Smiley Suspended by PBS

Tavis Smiley is angry at PBS, which he says performed a sloppy investigation of the harassment allegations against him, and then suspended him.

Put simply, PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgment, and trampling on a reputation that I have spent an entire lifetime trying to establish,” Mr. Smiley wrote early Thursday.

Variety has more details, including this statement posted by Smiley on his FB page:

In a statement posted Thursday evening on Facebook, Smiley said, “I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years.”

The allegations: [More...]

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Wednesday :: December 13, 2017

USA Today Editorial: Trump Not Fit to Clean Toilets

USA Today has an amazing editorial blasting Donald Trump today.

“[A] president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.”

USA Today does not endorse political candidates and due to its national reach, usually tries to stay neutral. In 2016, it made an exception, and as to Donald Trump, told its readers:

“Resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.”

After noting that Obama and Bush had their own flaws, but at least they were decent men, it opines:

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.”

It then addresses "Trump’s utter lack of morality, ethics and simple humanity" and lists supporting examples.

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Monday Open Thread

Bon Jovi finally makes it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'm glad that Richie Sambora (who left the band a few years ago) is included.

What's my favorite Bon Jovi song? This one, by miles.

In other news, I refuse to get distracted by the Republicans' ploy to bloviate about Mueller bias during the House testimony of Rod Rosenstein today. I watched a few minutes during which Rosenstein said he has faith in Mueller, the investigation isn't biased, and he's in charge and would step in if warranted, but it's not warranted. Shorter version: There's no "there" there.

Minn. Lt. Gov. Tina F. Smith has been named by the Gov. to replace Al Franken — she will have to run for the office in November.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: December 12, 2017

Alabama Senate Results: Live Blog

Update: 10:30 pm: The New York Times, CNN and NBC call the race for Doug Jones! (I beat them by 25 minutes.) Congratulations to Doug Jones. America thanks you. Donald Trump loses again. Who says you can't go home?

Update 10:05 pm: The networks are being cautious, but looking at the map and the precincts not yet reporting, I don't see how Moore can pull it off. I'm ready to call the race for Doug Jones!

[More...]

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Alabama Senate Exit Polls

5:20 p.m. ET: First early exit polls released in the Alabama Senate Race:

The first exit polls are released, revealing Alabama voters divided on the validity of the allegations against Moore. More than four in 10 believe they are false. Most Jones voters believe the accusations, while most of Moore's voters do not.

For about 40 percent of voters, the allegations were the most important factor in their vote, mostly for Jones voters. Moore voters were more motivated by their support for Donald Trump. Early exit polling shows Jones supporters more staunchly behind their candidate than those behind Moore.

Furthermore, most voters had already made up their minds by November – before the allegations against Moore surfaced.

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Bangladeshi Officials to U.S: Ullah is a Homegrown U.S. Terrorist

Bangladeshi government officials have told the U.S. that Akayed Ullah is a product of U.S. homegrown terrorism.

Bangladesh has communicated with the US government that it has no record on Akayed Ullah’s involvement with the militancy here and termed him as a “homegrown US terrorist,” a senior Bangladesh government official said on Tuesday.

Here is the Affidavit in support of the Complaint against Ullah. Among other things, it states that Ullah wrote on his FB page, "Trump you failed to protect your nation."

The Affidavit states Ullah told authorities his attack was ISIS-inspired and he began following ISIS sites online in 2014. (What took him so long to act, and why now, after ISIS has lost so much ground in Syria and Iraq?)

ISIS has been calling for homegrown attacks in the U.S. and Europe since shortly after it declared its Caliphate in June, 2014. Deceased ISIS spokesman al-Adnani called for homegrown attacks in September, 2014. [More...]

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New Report: Trump White House Viewed as Most Corrupt

A new survey report on public perception of corruption in public institutions has been released by Transparency International, a leading non-profit organization that tracks such things.

The survey asked about the degree of corruption in nine influential groups. These included the national government (the president’s office, members of congress, government officials), public officials who work at the service level (tax officials, the police, judges, local officials), and those who are not part of government but who often wield strong influence (business executives, religious leaders). Of these categories, government institutions and officials in Washington are perceived to be the most corrupt in the country. The results show that 44 per cent of Americans now say that most or all of those in the Office of the President are corrupt, up from 36 per cent who said the same last year.

The Washington Post has some analysis: [More...]

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Friday :: December 08, 2017

Reuters: Repubs.May Cut Up to $28 Billion in Medicare If Tax Bill Passes

Republicans voters are so clueless and gullible. They actually believe tax cuts for the wealthy will trickle down to them, that Medicare is an entitlement program. They also don't care that their leaders talk out of both sides of their mouths.

Paul Ryan has been determined to cut Medicare for years. It's his pet issue. He's now salivating at the prospect of achieving his dream.

Reuters reports that on Wednesday Paul Ryan said he has started convincing Trump changes to Medicare are needed. Trump said early in 2018, they will tackle "welfare reform". Trump supporters thinks that means food stamps and are all for it.

[More...]

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Friday Open Thread

I'm sure there's news to discuss today. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: December 07, 2017

Al Franken Resigns

Democrats just shot themselves in the foot. After his fellow Congresspersons began calling on Al Franken to resign, Al Franken has done just that. What a loss from a policy perspective.

It reminds me of the old adage, "one cannot serve two masters." I'd much rather have someone in Congress who was going to advocate for legislation that will help me and all Americans, than not have someone there there because of actions in his personal life before he became a member of Congress.

Here are some of the members calling for him to resign, even though he denies the latest allegation of an uninvited kiss, Franken told Politico:

This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation.”

Alice in Wonderland time: First the punishment, then the verdict.

If that's the new law of the land, why is Donald Trump still in office?

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Donald Trump's Slurred Speech

Donald Trump's speech pattern changed during his Jerusalem speech, and at the end, he slurred the word "States" in "United States."

CNN has an article about it but I'm not linking due to an auto-play video with a animated short bald man announcing some "breaking news." The LA Times has an article reporting the White House says Trump had a "dry throat" (no link due to ads popping all over.) A European paper asks if he has dentures.

My thoughts: I listened to the speech in the car, so I could not see Trump, only hear him. Sometimes that's better. [More...]

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Tuesday :: December 05, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

I'm running around for work and not online today, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Saturday :: December 02, 2017

Senate Passes Tax Bill

Every Democrat voted against the Senate Tax Bill. Every Republican except Bob Corker voted for it.

There were last minute changes. Here's the bill with the changes.

The Senate version still has to be reconciled with the House version. According to the New York Times, here's what they have to resolve.

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Friday :: December 01, 2017

Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty, Is Cooperating

Via the New York Times:

President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition, bringing the special counsel’s investigation into the president’s inner circle.

Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.

(my emphasis)

Flynn was not indicted, he was charged by Information (available here). The Information charges three sets of false statements to the FBI: One set concerns communications with the Russian Ambassador and Trump Transition Team officials about sanctions, one set pertains to communications with Russia about the U.N. Resolution submitted by Egypt and the third set pertains to the Turkey communications, which also involve his company and reportedly his son. [More...]

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