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Monday :: May 14, 2018

52 Dead in Gaza Protests as US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

Whatever Donald Trump does, he stirs up a hornest's nest. He's like the bull in the China shop. Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, is no different.

52 protesters have been killed (some were reportedly putting bombs on the street)

Palestinians now make up 38% of Jerusalem,

The new embassy hasn't even been built.

A small interim embassy will start operating from Monday inside the existing US consulate building in Jerusalem. A larger site will be found later when the rest of the embassy moves from Tel Aviv.

Palestinean leaders say the move dooms any peace prospect: [More...]

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Sunday :: May 13, 2018

Mother's Day Open Thread

What a treat for Mother's Day: Brunch with the TL kids and grandbaby, who is now 6 months old. I think she is really cute, especially her huge blue eyes. [More....]

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Thursday :: May 10, 2018

Rudy Strikes Out with Law Firm

Rudy Giuliani and his law firm have parted ways. Rudy says it is because he needs to devote all his time to Donald Trump and the Russia investigation.
His law firm, Greenberg Taurig (once home to Jack Abramoff) adds another reason. It disagrees that using law firm funds to pay off an adult entertainment star who claims to have had an affair with a client is routine procedure, when the client has not approved it. (Trump has publicly said he didn't know of the payment beforehand.) Not only isn't it routine, the firm announced in a statement, it isn't acceptable.

“Speaking for ourselves, we would not condone payments of the nature alleged to have been made or otherwise without the knowledge and direction of a client.”

What does "or otherwise" mean in this context?

The only person striking out more than Rudy this month is Michael Cohen.

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Tuesday :: May 08, 2018

Tuesday Primaries and Open Thread

Sorry for the late response to the request for a new open thread and one to discuss the primaries.

Season 6 of Senor de los Cielos starts tonight in 15 minutes. Enemigo Intimo ended last night, it was a really good story with a terrific cast. It's hard to say goodbye to Monica Robles but Roxanna Rodilles is another strong female lead, just in a different way. There will be a season 2.

Again, this is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Mueller Questions Russian Oligarch About Cohen Payments

I've been waiting for Rudy Giulani and Donald Trump's lawyer troubles to recede from the headlines. I can't think of two people I dislike more.

Today, CNN reports Mueller's team questioned Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg who heads an asset management company called the Renova Group. Vekselberg is reportedly close to Vladimir Putin and made payments to Michael Cohen after the election. According to Stormy Daniels lawyer, $500,000 in payments from a group controlled by Vekselberg were deposited into Cohen's account for his "shell business", Essential Consultants -- the same account he set up to pay Stormy Daniels, between January and August, 2017. [More...]

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Melania's "Be Best" Copies FTC Guide from Obama-Era

Melania Trump had a big to-do yesterday announcing her kids' project called "Be Best". Aside from not understanding what that means (why not "Be the Best" or "Be Your Best Self" or something that made grammatical sense) it turns out her project isn't even about empowering kids or encouraging them to strive and succeed -- it's a guide book for parents on ways to restrict their kids' online activity.

But putting all that aside, there's this: New allegations of plagiarism.

Compare Melania's 17 page pamphlet called "Talking with Kids About Being Online"to this 15 page pamphlet written in 2013, NET CETERA: Chatting with Kids About Being Online. Here is the Net Cetera web page which is still up. It's also available on another government website here, from 2014.

So Melania added a page with her photo and a handwritten note, changed the word "chatting" to "talking", and takes credit for a new program on how parents can restrict their kids internet and social media use.

Sorry, Melania, I'm not impressed. [More...]

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Tuesday :: May 01, 2018

Trump's Former Physician Tells of Office "Raid" for Trump's Records

Remember Dr. Harold Bornstein, Trump's former physician who proclaimed candidate Trump "astonishingly healthy" ("If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency)? NBC reports he's talking now about how he felt violated ("raped" was the word he used)when Trump former bodyguard Keith Schiller and Trump Org. lawyer Alan Garten showed up at his office in Feb. 2017 and took all of Trump's medical files.

In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt "raped, frightened and sad" when Keith Schiller and another "large man" came to his office to collect the president's records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump's bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.

"They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos," Bornstein said, who described the incident as frightening.

Why is he talking now? Because he's delighted that Ronny Jackson is no longer going to be White House physician (a position he had wanted): [More...]

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"We Had That Thing, You Know.

The New York Times obtained a list of the questions Robert Mueller wants to ask Donald Trump. NPR reports:

Most of the questions The Times printed focus on whether Trump may have obstructed justice or tried to frustrate the FBI's Russia investigation, including whether he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to lay off then-national security adviser Mike Flynn; leaned on others to pressure Comey; why he fired Comey and more.

I like the question about his calls to James Comey in March, 2017: [More...]

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Monday :: April 30, 2018

Monday Open Thread

I'm reading the news but not finding much to write about. I'm beyond sick of Donald Trump.

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

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Wednesday :: April 25, 2018

Michael Cohen to Invoke 5th Am. in Stormy Daniels Case

Trump attorney Michael Cohen has asked the judge presiding over Stormy Daniels civil lawsuit to stay proceedings in the case because he is the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI and Southern District of New York, as he would invoke his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. His Declaration is here.

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Wednesday Open Thread

The Bill Cosby case has gone to the jury.

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Tuesday :: April 24, 2018

Bernie's "Jobs for Everyone" Program

Bernie Sanders has come up with a new plan for the government to hire every worker who wants a job at the rate of at least $15 an hour, plus health and retirement benefits.

Sanders's jobs guarantee would fund hundreds of projects throughout the United States aimed at addressing priorities such as infrastructure, care giving, the environment, education and other goals. Under the job guarantee, every American would be entitled to a job under one of these projects or receive job training to be able to do so, according to an early draft of the proposal.

... the projects would hire workers at a minimum salary of $15 an hour with paid family and medical leave, and offer the same retirement, health, and sick and annual leave benefits as other federal employees.

Can such an idea work? It makes me think of the Netflix series Lillyhammer with Steve Van Zandt, about Norway. [More...]

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Thursday :: April 19, 2018

Does It All Come Down to Prague?

McClatchy is reporting through unnamed sources that Mueller has evidence Michael Cohen went to Prague. Cohen famously denied the allegation at the time.

Read through the McClatchy article and see what it says the import would be for Trump and Cohen if it turns out that Cohen was untruthful when he denied he went to Prague.

Also, today, Cohen dropped his defamation lawsuit against Buzzfeed.

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Wednesday :: April 18, 2018

Wednesday Open Thread: In the News

Tomorrow will be a remembrance day for the media. The second half of April is one of the worst in history.

April 19th is the anniversary of the WACO siege and the Oklahoma City bombing. On April 15, the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. April 20 is the anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

In other news, thee entire island of Puerto Rico is without power after a blast at its power station.

Then there is this news: 'It smells like death:' Alabama endures New York 'poop train' [More...]

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Cuba to Get New President, Miguel Diaz-Canel

Raul Castro is resigning as President of Cuba. His replacement (the sole nominee) will be First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez.

Wednesday’s announcement confirms the long-held expectation that Diaz-Canel would take over from Castro in a transition meant to ensure that the country’s single-party system outlasts the aging revolutionaries who created it.

The nomination must be now approved by the 604 delegates attending the National Assembly, which always approves nominations with total or near-total unanimity.

Raul Castro will remain head of the Communist party. Diaz-Canel is expected to ensure that Cuba remains a one party system. He's no reformer.

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