Wednesday :: August 03, 2016

Trump's Runaway Train

It seems no one can help [us] now
[we're] in too deep
There's no way out
This time [we] have really led [ourselves] astray
Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track

Republicans are having a conniption fit over their uncontrollable candidate. There are reports the campaign is in turmoil. Some Republicans are talking about an intervention.

Newt Gingrich says Trump is presently unacceptable: [More...]

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Tuesday :: August 02, 2016

Child Yells Profanity Re: Hillary at Trump Rally

A 10 year old attending a Trump rally with his mother, Pam Kohler, of Mount Vernon, VA, stood up twice and yelled out "Take the b*tch down" when Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton's name.

His mother identified herself to reporters as and stuck up for her son's remark. She said, “I think he has a right to speak what he wants to."

Ms. Kohler and her son were sitting in the media section of the rally and according to the Wall St Journal, both were holding signs that said "Hillary for Prison.....Asked where he would learn such a phrase, she said, "Democratic schools"

BS. He learned it from his mother. [More...]

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Cameron Douglas Released to Halfway House

It's been a long 7 years for Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas. This week the former heroin addict and meth seller was released from federal prison to a half-way house.

He looks in much better shape than he did at the time of his original arrest in 2009.

In 2012, Cameron was badly hurt in prison. In 2011 and 2012, I provided a lengthy recap of his legal troubles from court pleadings available at the time here and here. In 2010, I wrote about the sentencing pleadings and very candid family letters and provided a recap of events . Posts about his 2009 arrest and release on bail are here and here.

I took all of the information in the posts from publicly available pleadings, not just in his case, but in the cases of the Escalera brothers, against whom he testified. All of my posts on his case are accessible here.

Here's a letter Cameron wrote from prison in 2013. According to the Page 6 article, he's planning on writing a book of his experiences.

The Bureau of Prisons failed Douglas in my view. He more than did his time, under very harsh conditions. I wish him and his family well.

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Bratton Resigns From NYPD

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has resigned. He was expected to announce he would not seek a second term, but the resignation, effective next month, was a surprise to most. NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill will take over as interim chief.

Bratton previously served as New York Police Commissioner under Rudy Giulani from 1994 to 1996, and is credited with the "broken windows" theory of policing (with which I have never agreed.)

I have not followed events involving Commissioner Bratton since he returned to New York. I do remember when he became Police Commissioner of Los Angeles in 2002 since I was attended his swearing-in, along with two other defense lawyer pals. We were invited because we all are friends with his wife, former criminal defense attorney turned TV host and legal analyst, Rikki Klieman). I wrote a long post on it and the parties afterwards here.

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Monday :: August 01, 2016

U.S. Conducts New (Not First) Air Strikes in Sirte, Libya

We're bombing Libya again. I say again because many media outlets are erroneously reporting this is the first time. It's not, it's merely the first strike against ISIS in Libya conducted with the approval of the new Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

Previously, there was an airstrike in February, 2015, when the U.S. struck an ISIS training camp in Libya. It's believed there were no civilians at the camp. The U.S. said it targeted and killed ISIS extremist Noureddine Chouchane, linked to the Tunisian beach attacks at Sousse which killed 30 Britons. But Serbia said the U.S. attack killed two of its embassy employees who were being held hostage. The Intercept said evidence supports Serbia's claim. More than 40 people were killed in the strikes. And Libya complained it was not consulted and had not approved.

In November, 2015, the U.S. struck Libya and said it took out Abu Nabil, another suspected Isis leader. The BBC reported: [More...]

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Manned Russian Helicopter Shot Down in Aleppo, 5 Dead

Russia has announced that a helicopter carrying five people (2 officers and 3 crew members) was shot down in Aleppo today. It was returning from a "humanitarian" mission.

On August 1, the Russian military transport helicopter Mi-8 was downed by ground fire on the way to the ‪#‎Hmeymim‬ airbase after delivery of humanitarian aid to the Aleppo city in the ‪#‎Idlib‬ province. There were 3 crew members and 2 officers of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria. The fate of the Russian servicemen is being found out.

What kind of humanitarian plane has rockets on board?. See also here. The video of the burning helicopter with the rockets published by Halab TV Today is here.

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Sunday :: July 31, 2016

Issue 15 of ISIS' Dabiq Magazine: "Break the Cross"

ISIS has released Issue 15 of Dabiq Magazine, titled "Break the Cross." You can read a safe copy of the 82 page magazine here or here.

I immediately turned to the end to see if there was something written by hostage John Cantlie. There is not.

There are some new themes, such as the West is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Even if the bombings stop, it says the best the West can hope for is a temporary truce.

See page 30: "Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You." Shorter version: Because you are non-believers. The invasions and bombings are secondary.

ISIS seems intent on baiting the West into an all out war. It doesn't yet seem to grasp that only foolish politicians like Donald Trump and Republicans will fall for that. [More...]

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Sunday Night news and Open Thread: The Trumps, the Ukraine, and Pokémon Go

Melania Trump's racy photos from 1996. Trump says,

When asked about the photos, Trump told The Post: “Melania was one of the most successful models and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines. This was a picture taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania. In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.”

Trump displayed his lack of foreign policy chops today on ABC's This Week when he didn't know that Russian troops were in the Ukraine -- and had been for two years. Russia seized Crimea and annexed it in 2014, resulting in economic sanctions by the U.S. and countries in Europe. He suggested Crimea might prefer Russia. [More...]

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Indonesia Executes 4 More Foreign Drug Offenders

Indonesia executed four more drug traffickers this week. Another 10 were taken from their cells on the notorious Nusakambangan prison island at Cilacap, Central Java, and brought to the killing field. Without explanation, these 10 were taken back to their cells. In all, 16 coffins were ordered. Indonesia is not publicly identifying who is next.

Those killed included two Nigerians, a Senegalese and an Indonesian man.

Those executed on Friday were Indonesian Freddy Budiman, as well as Nigerians Seck Osmane, Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke.

Michael Titus Igweh testified police "electrocuted his genitals." Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke has always maintained his innocence. [More...]

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Saturday :: July 30, 2016

Schlock and Awe: Trump Comes to Denver

Donald Trump came to Denver yesterday. His comments were all schlock, but 6,000 people, expecting to be awed, went to see him.

USA Today has the story, but it has autoplay video so I won't link to it. Among his more absurd comments:

  • He has one of the best memories of anyone in the world
  • If the U.S. elects Hillary, it will turn into another Venezuela
  • He said several times his nomination speech got better TV ratings than Hillary's
  • He didn't mention a single Republican running for office in Colorado (no down--ticket help from him)
  • Ivanka really likes Chelsea, he wishes she didn't, but what are you going to do?

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Friday :: July 29, 2016

DCCC Hacked, FBI Investigating if Related to DNC Hack

First, it was the DNC (Democratic National Committee) whose emails got hacked, possibly by hackers hired by Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU (also known as APT 28 or Fancy Bear) or by lone hackers on their own. Now, the FBI is investigating whether a similar breach at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is related and also the work of Russian hackers.

The FBI is treating the DNC and DCCC breaches as one investigation now, said one person briefed on the matter. At the same time, the bureau is doing a broader probe of Russian hackers targeting political organizations, including the Clinton campaign, the campaign of GOP nominee Donald Trump and Republican political action committees.

I doubt Trump's emails would be very interesting, but I won't be surprised if emails between his campaign staff and his two sons (Donald Jr and Eric) and son-in-law (Jared) are published they turn out to be quite revealing and embarrassing. If that happens, I wonder what Trump's reaction would be then.

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Jabhat al Nusra in Splits From al Qaida and Changes Name

For at least a week, there have been reports that the leader of Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, Abū Muhammad al-Jūlānī, (sometimes spelled al-Jolani and al-Joulani and al-Golani), is about to announce the group's split from al Qaida.

Yesterday, it happened. Announcements were made by both groups, emphasizing this is not an ideological split. The U.S says it's just a rebranding, PR move. Al Qaida and al Nusra say it's much more than that. [More...]

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Thursday :: July 28, 2016

Thursday Night DNC: I'm With Her

Update: The theme: We are Stronger together.

Hillary did what she needed to do. She was Presidential, confident, experienced, committed, and determined. It's so easy to picture her as Commander in Chief.

Her ending: The world is watching. Let's be stronger together. Let's look to the future. Let's build a better tomorrow for our children.

The crowd erupts. Tim Kaine joins her on stage. Then Bill. Donald Trump must feel like chopped liver right now. He should -- that's all he is.

Highlights below:

"I am not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I'm not here to take away your guns." I'm here to keep you from being killed by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place. [More..]

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Thursday Night Open Thread: Non-Election Edition

Windows 10 free upgrades end tomorrow. I've been dreading installing it on my office computer, because like everything these days, text is an afterthought to graphic icons and video. I have been using Windows 10 on my laptops for 6 months and I still waste far too much time trying to find things. I like text, not pictures. I rarely find the icons intuitive.

Here's the good news. This morning when I got the message "Your computer is ready to upgrade" and it told me all my files would be in the same place and I could switch back if I didn't like Windows 10, I took a deep breath and hit the "OK" button.

For a few hours I worked on documents while it was doing something in the background. Then I left and forgot about it. When I got back around 5 pm, there was a big message on the screen saying I was ready to go. The best part was it asked me if I wanted to use custom settings (like for Groove music and Windows photo program) and had a very small button to click that said "no, use my existing programs to open everything." So I clicked the very small button and lo and behold: My desktop looks just like it did in Windows 7, my photos open with Adobe Photoshop and my music and video is in iTunes. It also gave me the choice to turn off all the notifications to Microsoft and syncing apps and location services, which of course I chose to do. [More...]

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Wednesday :: July 27, 2016

Weds Night DNC: The "Dangerous Demagogue" vs the Qualified Woman Who Never Quits

Update: Obama knocked it out of the park at the end. So forceful, uplifting, genuine... and Here's Hillary! With Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed, Delivered" playing the background, the two of them make an amazing sight. I think Bill Clinton is so overcome with emotion he might cry. What a moment. Just the best. Thank you, President Obama. Welcome, Hillary Clinton. Anyone who doesn't think she will own this election is delusional. Americans are a lot of things, but they are not stupid enough to elect the inexperienced egotist Donald Trump.

Update: It's Obama time. After that horribly weak and depressing introductory video, I hope he reverses the tone and has something inspiring to say.

He does. He calls Hillary the woman who never quits, who is absolutely qualified to be President. He praises and vouches for Tim Kaine.

Best line about Trump: "Don't boo, Vote." Good question he asks: Does anyone believe that someone who never did anything for working people is now going to be your daddy?

Obama says he looks much older now than he did at his first convention 12 years ago. That would be Boston in 2004. Here's a photo I took of him at the Bloggers' Breakfast in Boston at the DNC: [More...]

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