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Thursday :: January 17, 2019

Thursday Open Thread

This government shutdown needs to end.

Michael Cohen is not hot. But I welcome his testimony on Feb. 7 and hope he confirms that he paid paid to doctor polls advancing Trump's nascent candidacy. Author Kurt Eichenwald breaks it all down. Cohen has confirmed the Wall St. Journal story on Twitter. The NY Times has more.

I've still got too much work to blog, probably until tomorrow afternoon or Saturday.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Sunday :: January 13, 2019

Julian Castro Announces Presidential Bid

Julian Castro has announced he is running for President.

“When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America,” he said at the rally. The Castros grew up in an impoverished neighborhood of San Antonio and were raised by a single mother.

In his announcement speech, Castro called for Medicare for all, alleviation of college debt, reform of the criminal justice system, housing affordability and reforms to the immigration system.

[More...]

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Thursday :: January 10, 2019

How to Avoid the Goof Made by Manafort's Lawyers

I've seen two versions of the "unredacted" version of the response filed by Paul Manafort's lawyers. In this version provided by the Associated Press (and opened in Adobe Acrobat) it's clear the redaction failed and whoever did the final proofread should have seen it.

In this version provided by the Daily Beast, also opened in Adobe Acrobat (on a PC), the document appears to be redacted so it might not have been apparent to whoever did the final proof-read. Once open, if you choose the select tool and highlight the blackened parts, then right click and press copy, and then paste in into Microsoft Word, the unredacted text appears. (I have no idea if a Mac works the same way as I don't use my Mac for work, only for music and videos. And I never open PDF's in a browser like Chrome or Firefox, only Adobe Acrobat DC Pro which I assume most law firms use). (It's the same in Adobe X which while outdated, I still use on some laptops and actually prefer.)

VICE presents ways to avoid the cut and paste trick, including making a scanned copy or taking a screenshot. That's problematic for some federal courts, including those in Colorado. [More...]

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Wednesday :: January 09, 2019

The Case Against Natalya Veselnitskaya

Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya has been indicted in New York and charged with obstruction of justice pertaining to a declaration she filed under penalty of perjury in a civil case between her clients (Prevezon Holdings and its chief officer, Denis Katsyv) and the Government. (She was not counsel of record -- she was hired to assist their U.S. counsel in the case. In doing so, she provided sworn declarations for the lawyers to file in support of various pleadings in the civil case.)

The Indictment is here. Veselnitskaya's Declaration that is the subject of the Indictment is here. In it she provides her working history and credentials. The Russian Prosecutor's report (referred to as the MlAT Response) is here. The letter from Russia to Veselnitskaya referred to in the Indictment is here. (I obtained these via PACER).

Vox does a good job of explaining the long and convoluted history of the civil case. It also states that while the Indictment doesn't relate to the infamous Trump Tower meeting Donald Trump Jr. presided over during his father's campaign, it does provide context for the meeting. [More...]

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Tuesday :: January 08, 2019

Trump's Border Speech

Here is the text of Donald Trump's prime time border speech to the nation.

Repeating anything Donald Trump says just spreads his fear-mongering agenda and keeps it alive. I'm done with that. Just as I'm done with hearing his voice (the mute button is there for a reason).

Yes, it's important to read the legal documents (executive orders, proclamations and the like) he signs but it is absolutely a waste of time to read or listen to what he says or writes about them. He doesn't have the attention span to read the fine print and probably can only understand the Cliff Notes version.

Donald Trump doesn't even understand the government shutdown. I have no interest in watching a speech written by staffers who are pulling the strings of the puppet with a desk in the Oval office who acts like he was elected King.

If America is in a crisis, it's because of Donald Trump -- not refugees and asylum seekers or drug traffickers at and below the southern border.

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Monday :: January 07, 2019

Trump Seeks Network Prime Time to Promote Border Wall

Donald Trump has asked the major networks to allow him to address the nation tomorrow night on the importance of the border wall. No answer yet.

I hope they turn him down. Let him hold his talk on his Facebook page where his fans can watch and listen.

He's also going to visit the border. Why, and who cares?

Democrats need to stay firm in their opposition to this needless and wasteful expense Trump is trying to impose on taxpayers.

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Sunday :: January 06, 2019

Sunday TV : Golden Globe Awards

As is usually the case, the Golden Globe Awards (Hollywood Foreign Press) tonight is so much better a production that the staid and unimaginative Oscars. Here is their website with well designed page for the nominees and winners. (The one exception: Jeff Bridges, I had to mute him.)

The one film I will probably see: Roma, the film which captured Best Foreign Picture (Mexico) and Best Director.

I also liked the red carpet which I caught a bit of on E! this afternoon. Ryan Seacrest asked some questions other than "who are you wearing?" and at one point mentioned he got the list of who he would be interviewing last night. Clearly he prepared a bit.

Here's a place to discuss them, and this year's shows and movies.

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Friday :: January 04, 2019

Friday Open Thread

What a busy week. Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Monday :: December 31, 2018

New Years' Open Thread

Happy New Year everyone!

I took the week off from following the news and blogging. It doesn't seem like I missed much.

It is very cold and snowy here. Not the fluffy kind of snow that makes everything look like a winter wonderland, but the wet kind that turns into slick ice as soon as it hits the road.

The Colorado State Patrol is out in force looking for impaired drivers. They posted this on their Facebook page a few minutes ago, and they think it is amusing:

New Year’s Eve Special Offer:

Troopers statewide will be giving free* rides to intoxicated drivers caught operating a vehicle. Participants can expect a stay in beautiful grey or white rooms, generally about 6×9 in dimensions, with buzzing lights. A toilet is provide just inches from a 1.5 inch mattress, for your convenience. Free photograph and fingerprints will be taken. Company in the room is almost a guarantee, as is a night contemplating poor life choices.

I am more than happy to see 2018 end. I just wish Donald Trump and his family and revolving door staff members would go with it. Barring that, I wish the media would stop its relentless coverage of him and his ignorant comments. [More...]

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Tuesday :: December 25, 2018

Christmas Day Open Thread

A very merry Christmas to all!

This is an open thread, all topics welcome -- from your family holiday traditions to cooking to politics.

Enjoy the day and your time with your families. Regardless of your religion, Christmas is a special holiday!

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Monday :: December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve Open Thread

I'm off to buy Christmas gifts for the family. Karter already opened the one I got her -- she's sitting in it in the picture.

Please let us know how you are celebrating, and I'll be back later this evening.

A happy holiday eve to all!

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Tsunami Sweeps Away Rock Band During Performance

The popular Indonesian rock band Seventeen was performing on a stage at the edge of Tanjung Lesung beach in West Java Saturday night when the waves came crashing down and swept them away. Three members of the band , the road manager and a crew member died. Only the lead vocalist, Riefian Fajarsyah, survived.

Also missing and now confirmed dead: Riefian's wife, 25 year old actress Dylan Sahara. He posts this message to her on Instagram.

Here is a video showing how fast it happened.

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Saturday :: December 22, 2018

Xmas in America: Trump's Government Shutdown

It's official. CBS reports (no link due to auto play video):

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday that there is no deal, and the Senate is adjourned until Thursday, Dec. 27.

We are in a partial government shutdown mode which will last through Christmas, at least. Only "essential" workers(shorter version: some law enforcement, including border agents, and military troops at the border) will get paid, the rest of federal workers do not:

More than 420,000 federal employees would have to go to work without pay. More than 380,000 will be furloughed. Those who work will get paid eventually - and those furloughed likely will - but depending how long the shutdown lasts, they could miss a paycheck.

Trump owns this now. It is his Christmas present to America.

As Trump continues to pander to his shrinking base of under-informed and marginalized voters, Dems need to stay firm and refuse to pay a cent for his imaginary wall. As for his "beautiful" Steel Slat Barrier he tweeted about this morning, I hope he's the first to sit on top of it.

The only acceptable outcome for next year: #TrumpResigns.

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Thursday :: December 20, 2018

Trump Refusing to Sign Shutdown Bill

Donald Trump wants his wall. He's refusing to sign the bill to avoid a government shutdown without funding for his wall.

Donald Trump is the antithesis of what this country needs in leadership.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Hopefully, Trump's fall will come soon.

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Tuesday :: December 18, 2018

Judge Berates Flynn for Attempt to Minimize his Crime

The Atlantic is correct: Michael Flynn's lawyers badly miscalculated when they filed their sentencing memorandum claiming the FBI's failure to warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie to the FBI during a voluntary interview was mitigation for sentencing.

Judge Emmet Sullivan, however, who was set to issue Flynn’s sentence on Monday, was not sympathetic. “How is raising these points consistent with accepting responsibility?” he asked Flynn and his lawyers as they stood before him at the lectern on Tuesday. He then lambasted Flynn for lying to federal agents on White House grounds while serving as the president’s top national-security adviser in January 2017, and for lying about his lobbying work for the Turkish government. “Arguably, you sold out your country,” Sullivan said.

He added that while he would take Flynn’s 33-year public-service career and cooperation into account when sentencing him, he would not try to hide his “disdain” and “disgust” for Flynn’s crimes, and asked the government at one point whether Flynn’s conduct rose to the level of treason.

Flynn's sentencing was continued to March. He's still cooperating (in the case of his partners working with him on behalf of Turkey to "remove" the cleric Turkey believes is responsible for the 2016 coup against President Erdogan from PA to Turkey)for prosecution who were indicted a few days ago.

The Judge may cool off by March, but his lawyers' attempt to minimize his conduct after he pleaded guilty by portraying him as a victim of the FBI was a poor strategy.

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