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Monday :: October 30, 2017

Monday Open Thread

"If I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago,
I might not be alone
Tomorrow we can drive around this town
Let the cops chase us around"

Donald Trump can't read. The charges against his aides extend into 2016 and 2017 -- they were not just "years ago."

Love this song by the Gin Blossoms.

I'm on my third keyboard this week, the lag time whenever I type is absurd. I have no idea what's wrong with my Dell desktop computer but it's seriously affecting my blogging. I'm off to the jail anyway, so it won't matter this afternoon.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos Charges

The Office of Special Counsel has the charges for Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos here.

Donald Trump needs some reading comprehension skills. Manafort's and Gate's activity was not years ago before Manafort joined the campaign. See Count 12 -- both allegedly made false statements in letters in November, 2016 and February, 2017.

In September 2016, after numerous recent press reports concerning MANAFORT, the Department of Justice informed MANAFORT, GATES, and DMI that it sought to determine whether they had acted as agents of a foreign principal under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), without registering. In November 2016 and February 2017, MANAFORT, GATES, and DMI caused false and misleading letters to be submitted to the Department of Justice, which mirrored the false cover story set out above.

Papadopoulus was arrested in July, 2017 at Dulles. But he was first interviewed in Chicago, voluntarily with counsel present, in January, 2017, and lied. (This was the day of Trump's dinner with Comey.) The FBI recorded Papadopoulus' interview.

He was interviewed again in February and reiterated his desire to cooperate. Then he destroyed messages to and from some of his Russian contacts by deleting his entire Facebook account and creating a new one without the messages. Now he's cooperating again, and was allowed to plead to a false statement count where his guideline range is 0 to 6 months, meaning he's unlikely to go to prison. (No grand jury, an Information with a waiver of the right to an Indictment. But there were two original charges, false statements and obstruction of justice in the original complaint, so he's getting off easy.) More information, including the Affidavit in Support of the Complaint (rather than just the statement of facts in support of his guilty plea and the actual Complaint which are all on the Special Counsel's webpage) is available on the court's docket in 17-mj-00536. One of the things he lied about was whether he was working for Trump's campaign when he had the contacts. He was, but at first he claimed he wasn't.

Manafort and Gates' cases will be unsealed right after their first court appearance today. The case number is 17-cr-201.

There are three case numbers for Papadopolous: District of Columbia: 17-mj-00536 and 17-cr-182.
Eastern District of Virginia: 17-mj-00358.

I think Mueller is just getting warmed up.

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Sunday :: October 29, 2017

Do All Roads Lead Through Manafort?

Jason Leopold, writing for Buzzfeed, reports that 13 wire transfers from Manafort shell companies abroad to the U.S. are the basis for whatever charges are coming.

Federal law enforcement officials said they saw evidence of “layering,” the process by which the origin of money is obscured behind many layers of companies. Much of the money ended up in the US, sent to American home improvement contractors, a hedge fund, and even a car dealership.

The New York Times reported on the complicated connections in June, 2017, which include money used to remodel real estate projects involving his daughters and wife and involvement of some sort by his son-in-law.

Why did Roger Stone, former Manafort Partner, have a melt-down on Twitter yesterday?

I'm still not sure who has been indicted, if anyone.

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Saturday :: October 28, 2017

Sweating Out the First Weekend Before Russia Charges

The entire national media seems to be playing a game of Old Maid trying to figure out who is going to draw the last Queen in Bob Mueller's probe of darlings in his Russian nursery.

It appears someone will be brought before the Court Monday on an new Indictment. I'm not clear on whether it's one person or more, whether there will be a perp walk and public shaming arrest or a simple surrender to the Pretrial Services office, followed by an appearance in court for a first advisement and bond release, arraignment (or both.)

It seems to me the leaks are from defense counsel who have been given a heads-up to have their client show up at the courthouse, marshal's office or pretrial services office. (The days of public perp walks and shaming arrests, preferred by Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie when they were U.S. Attorneys, are long gone, and would give Trump and his followers something to whine about forever, distracting from whatever message Mueller is trying to send with this news. [More...]

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White House: All Women Who Accused Trump Were Lying

From Friday's White House Press Conference: Sara Huckabee Sanders responding to a question from CBS News reporter: All of the 16 women who accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment were lying:

Question from CBS News reporter Jacqueline Alemany:

"Obviously sexually harassment has been in the news. At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign," Alemany said. "Last week during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the president called these accusations 'fake news.' Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?"

Sanders response:

"Yes. We've been clear on that from the beginning, and the president has spoken on it," Sanders replied.

(No potentially libelous comments please, they will be deleted. And no name-calling.)

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Friday :: October 27, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Serial groper George HW Bush gets a pass because...why? His age, his wheelchair, his ex-presidential status? Three women have now come forward, and he's admitted his conduct.

A 10 year old leads police on a 1 hr chase because he was bored waiting for his sister to get ready for school. It was his second time stealing a car for a joyride in a month.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: October 26, 2017

Feeding the Swamp: GEO Holds Private Event at Trump Resort

GEO, the huge private prison company, held its annual leadership event at Trump's Doral golf resort in Miami.

The event last week, during which executives and wardens gathered for four days of meetings, dinner receptions and golf outings at the luxurious 800-acre Trump National Doral, followed an intense effort by GEO Group to align itself with the president and his administration.

During last year’s election, a company subsidiary gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC. GEO gave an additional $250,000 to the president’s inaugural committee. It also hired as outside lobbyists a major Trump fundraiser and two former aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of the president’s most prominent campaign backers.

GEO Group, meanwhile, has had newfound success in Trump’s Washington.

Please read the article as I'm not going to ruin the rest of my evening by detailing them. It's getting to the point where I may end every post about him with "It's time to scrape that sh!t right off our shoes." [More...]

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ICE Detains 10 Year old With Cerebral Palsy After Surgery

In the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" and "Why They Hate Us" Departments: ICE sat outside a hospital this week where a 10 year old with cerebral palsy was undergoing emergency gall bladder surgery, and when it was over and she was out of the recovery room, took her to an immigration facility 150 miles from her home.

"It is stunning that federal agents would wait outside of a hospital room for a 10-year-old child with cerebral palsy," U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas said. "They are treating her like a convict."

The child, Rosa Maria, was three months old when she was brought to the U.S. She has has the mental capacity of a four or five year old, and has no idea what is happening.

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Trump Channels Nancy Reagan in Drug Speech

Donald and Melania Trump gave speeches today on the Opioid crisis. I watched and listened to it. You can read the transcript here. The White House Press Release is here. Donald Trump sounded just like Nancy Reagan and her "Just Say No" campaign. He's going to create an advertising campaign to tell kids how bad drugs are and not to use them.

He's going to fund law enforcement programs. (Anyone remember "DARE"? These programs don't work.

He's going to limit prescriptions to 7 days supply. One unnamed opioid will be removed from the approved drug list and become illegal.

He said this will take years if not decades (I guess so he can't be blamed when there's no huge reduction of overdose deaths during his term.)

He talked about his brother Fred, who told him over and over, don't drink, don't smoke and he listened. That's his plan for kids, just tell them don't do it. [More...]

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House Republicans Pass Budget Bill With Tax Cuts

The Washington Post reports Republicans passed a budget bill with Donald Trump's planned tax cuts:

No Democrats voted for the budget Thursday, nor did 20 Republicans, indicating ongoing qualms about the tax push within the party.

Donald Trump cares about one thing: businesses making money. If people pay less taxes, he thinks they will spend more money, which is good for business owners. It's a bad bill and I doubt it will make it through the Senate in its present form.

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Wednesday :: October 25, 2017

Paddock's Estranged Brother Bruce Arrested in LA on Unrelated Matter

Stephen Paddock's estranged brother (not the one who talked to the press and went to Las Vegas to be interviewed)is in custody on a child p*rn allegation.

Bruce Paddock, 58, was detained at a Los Angeles assisted-living facility, where he was awaiting surgery for spinal stenosis. He had not yet been booked, and no other details were available.

An attorney who Paddock said had represented him in criminal matters in the past told NBC News he is no longer representing Paddock and declined comment.

Bruce had not been in contact with Stephen in 10 years, so I don't see how this is relevant to the Las Vegas shootings, any more than his father's past as a bank robber.

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Tuesday :: October 24, 2017

Trump Jr. Gets $100k to Speak at Texas University

Donald Trump got a $100k fee to speak at a state university lecture. The school says private donors paid Trump Jr.'s speaking fee.

The event was sponsored by private donors, such as Ryan LLC...Trump's $100,000 speaking fee is coming from a tax advisory firm owned by Ryan, according to UNT. Ryan used political and business connections to land the real estate executive as a speaker.
Who paid to rent the AT&T auditorium it was held at?

The article says he promoted his father's "nationalism" message. Did he have an original thought of his own to share? Never mind, I couldn't care less.

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FBI Releases Sandy Hook Documents

The FBI today released about 1,500 pages of documents relating to interviews in the Sandy Hook shooting. You can view them here.

I skimmed them and didn't learn anything new. Most of the documents are blacked out, and the interviews that are not seem to be those we've read before (although from the media, not the FBI.) There are a few Connecticut state police reports, which were previously available, basically saying we'll never know what caused Adam Lanza to go on the shooting spree.

There are numerous references to Adam having Asperger's but that's not an explanation for his behavior. Personally, I would have liked to see what his mother's family members and brother said, but given the blackouts, it's hard to connect the interviews to a particular person.

There's simply not much new here.

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Bill O'Reilly's $32 Million Settlement

Bill O'Reilly has just been dumped by his talent agency, following the disclosure by the New York Times that he settled a sexual harassment claim by Fox Legal analyst Lis Wiehl for $32 million.

Here's the affidavit she signed.

"I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint," she wrote.

It's clear from that statement that her lawyers sent O'Reilly a draft of the complaint she intended to file in court. Was she also going to sue Fox? I suspect the answer is yes, because the affidavit also refers to her settling her claims against Fox. I wonder what Fox agreed to pay her.

Lis is a long time acquaintance of mine and I have a great deal of respect for her -- professionally, personally and ethically. We used to spend time together in New York. She was already O'Reilly's radio co-host, and while my impression was she found it difficult to work with him and didn't look forward to it, I don't recall ever discussing any specifics with her. So I have no first-hand information. [More...]

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Monday :: October 23, 2017

Monday Madness and Open Thread

Sorry for the lack of blogging the last several days, but every time I read the news, there is so much more Trump madness I get too disgusted to write about it.

This weekend I watched Kate del Castillo's "The Day I Met El Chapo" a three part documentary on Netflix. Sean Penn wanted to block it saying it would endanger him. Then he said she was a fame seeker and her version was a lie. He told his version, why can't she tell hers? Anyway, it's very good -- I ended up watching the whole thing twice. To me, her version makes more sense.

Two weeks (or so) until the TL kids have their baby -- it's just flown by. I've cooked about 15 meals for them in my Instant Pot to freeze and eat after the baby arrives. It's been more far rewarding than blogging about Trump.

This is the last week (for real) of Senor de Los Cielos 5. (warning: auto-play video.) I really don't want Monica Robles to be killed. They should kill the monster Tony Pastrana instead.

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

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