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Tuesday :: November 07, 2017

Election Day Across America: A Day of Firsts

Democrats won from coast to coast yesterday.

In addition to Dems taking both Governor races in New Jersey and Virginia, it was a day of firsts: The first transgender legislator in Virgina.

The first Sikh Mayor in Hoboken, NJ. And Charlote, NC elects its first African-American Mayor.

This does not bode well for Donald Trump. Aside from the election results, which are impossible to disassociate from unhappiness with his occupancy of the oval office, there's this: [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread: Baby Day

Update 11/8: 3:30 pm: A healthy baby girl has arrived, 8 lbs. 15 ozs! Mom and baby are doing well!

The TL kids are at the hospital this morning where they will will hopefully deliver a healthy baby girl. I'm on pins and needles, so until I get more news, here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

Update 10:45 pm MT: No baby yet, labor continues!

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Saturday :: November 04, 2017

Donna Brazile: Fact, Fiction, Bias or Fantasy?

Donna Brazile has a major fact problem with her bizarre claim Hillary rigged the primaries. It's called evidence. The contract she refers to as support for her claim actually refutes it. Her claim, according to the Washington Post:

Brazile also details how Clinton effectively took control of the DNC in August 2015, before the primaries began, with a joint fundraising agreement between the party and the Clinton campaign. She said the deal gave Clinton control over the DNC’s finances, strategy and staff decisions — disadvantaging other candidates, including Sanders. “This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity,” she writes.

Here's the document, obtained by NBC News. It specifically applies to the general election, not the primaries.

[More...]

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Friday :: November 03, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: November 02, 2017

Senor de Los Cielos 5: The Finale

Note: No one has the time or the interest to read a post this long about a TV show in a foreign language. I've written it more for posterity than for reading enjoyment. Janis Joplin once joked that "Mercedes Benz" was a song with "great social and political import." Joking aside, that's how I feel about well-done narco-dramas, and Senor de los Cielos in particular. Yes, it's a fictionalized account of the life of a real life trafficker, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, and his family and loves, with exaggerated characters and events. But, unlike a Mercedes Benz, there are glimpses of political and social realities in the stories that I think give them a greater meaning. Also, I think many of the actors' performances, which take months to film, and the high production quality, deserve greater attention.

So don't feel like you have to read the whole thing, or any of it. It's enough that someone somewhere, googling for information about the show or its actors, will eventually come across it.

Update (recap and spoiler alert): By now anyone who is interested in Senor de los Cielos 5 has seen the finale or read what happens. It was good, and the best part is, there is going to be a Season 6. Here are 31 photos with captions from Telemundo, showing what happens in the finale. [More...]

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Reports That Trump Blames Kushner's Advice for Russia Problems

Several media outlets are reporting that Donald Trump is now blaming Jared Kushner's bad advice for his Russia problems.

Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call. When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg said. “I’m only saying publicly what everyone says behind the scenes at Fox News, in conservative media, and the Senate and Congress.” (The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.)

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Ivanka Visits Japan

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of Donald Trump, whose shoe factory in China has been reported for violating human rights, has traveled to Japan to speak at the country's “World Assembly of Women” conference.

Has her father become so unpopular that he needs Ivanka to grease the skids for him? He arrives two days later:

That visit will include a round of golf at a fancy country club and a banquet, but no headline speech. That job will fall instead to his daughter. Ivanka Trump will give a “special speech” on female entrepreneurship and women's participation in the economy.

Donald Trump's approval rating is at the lowest rate ever. Is he now using his model-ish looking daughter as a foil? [More...]

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Republicans Introduce Their Tax Cut Plan

Republicans have introduced their own tax cut bill. Is anyone surprised the cuts help businesses and the wealthy?

House Republicans on Thursday unveiled a tax cut plan that would slash the corporate rate and lower the personal taxes of most Americans but also limit a cherished deduction for homeowners, as President Donald Trump and the GOP seek to deliver on the first tax revamp in three decades.

Another false Trump bragging claim, according to Reuters: that his cuts would be the largest in history for corporate rates and individuals. It's only true for corporate rates. [More...]

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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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