Wednesday :: August 14, 2019

Moving Hiatus and Open Thread

I am completely immersed in moving and will be until early next week. It could be a week before I'm back here, but I'll try to check on the threads a few times if I have internet.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Saturday :: August 10, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein Death: Outrage at BOP and Pretrial Detention System

I am simply outraged that Jeffrey Epstein died at a federal detention center in New York.

I will have a lot more to say, but for now, I will just say:

1. Jeffrey Epstein should never have been detained without bond. He was not a flight risk. He had not posed a danger to the community in years. The wealthy do not deserve to be treated more harshly than the poor. The accusers' position on bond should have been taken with a great grain of salt. An indictment is merely an accusation, it is not evidence.

2. Jeffrey Epstein should have been on a 24 hour watch. I would like to see the unit and activity logs for the staff. I have not yet read enough to know if I believe he committed suicide or someone killed him. Either was entirely avoidable.

3. It will disgusting to watch his accusers and their lawyers fight over his carcass to obtain whatever funds he had left that they believe they are due even though almost all of them already collected as a result of the Florida state case. Epstein not only paid them damages, he paid their lawyers' fees.

4. Shame on the Bureau of Prisons. R.I.P. Jeffrey Epstein.

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Friday :: August 09, 2019

Another ICE-Caused Death

Jimmy Aldaoud was 41 years old. He lived in the U.S. since he was 6 months old. Last month ICE deported him from Detroit to Iraq, a country he never lived in. He did not speak Arabic. He was not a Muslim, but a Chaldean Catholic..

Chaldeans are an eastern branch of the Roman Catholic church who trace their roots to ancient Mesopotamia in present-day Iraq, where they are at high risk of being tortured or killed by the the terror group ISIS, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a related legal case.

He had been put on a commercial flight to Iraq. A diabetic, he died on the streets, apparently from lack of insulin. [More...]

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Friday Open Thread

I'm about to start my residence move. I take possession of my new place on Monday, and have the old place until the 30th. I haven't been able to blog much so far during August, and expect that to continue until the last week in August.

I'm considering it a "hiatus" but I'll try to keep some open threads going.

Moving is very stressful.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome. Please be civil.

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Nadler: Formal Impeachment Proceedings Have Begun

Rep. Jerome Nadler says formal impeachment proceedings have begun. The House Judiciary Committee has initiated the inquiry, and will make a decision as to whether to forward the matter to the full house. He was on CNN yesterday explaining that they are not just considering whether to bring an impeachment proceeding, but one is already underway.

He also said it will the investigation will be broader than the Mueller Report and Russia. He said he expects witnesses who are not refusing to appear to testify in September or October.

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Trump and Blago, Sitting in a Tree?

San Antonio was a lot of criticism for Trump. As usual he reacted with a deflections. He said he is considering granting clemency to Rod Blagojevich who has done 7 of his 14 year sentence.

Mr. Trump disclosed his initial plans aboard Air Force One on Wednesday after a day of highly critical news coverage that focused on the reception toward the president as he traveled to the sites of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 dead.

The odd thing is that Blago's sentence was grossly excessive. I hope Trump does commute his sentence. Of course, since Blago is a Democrat, Republicans are pushing him not to commute the sentence.

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Monday :: August 05, 2019

El Paso Shootings: Is Trump Welcome?

The current official total of people killed in the El Paso shootings is 22. The names and nationalities of the deceased are here.

Donald Trump is going to visit El Paso on Wednesday. Not everyone is pleased:

“I call our governor, I call on our senators to send a message to our president and ask him not to set foot in El Paso,” David Stout, a Democratic commissioner in the border city, told VICE News. “It would just put salt on this wound.” He represents Precinct 2, where Trump spoke in February — and where the massacre took place.

The last time Trump was in El Paso was for a campaign rally and VICE News says he stuck the city for a $470k bill.

Donald Trump first blamed video games and "mentally ill monsters" for the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Via The Intercept, here's a breakdown of similarities between the El Paso shooter's manifesto and Trumpspeak and Fox News comments.

Trump is the most divisive and undeserving person ever to occupy a seat in the White House. Enough is enough. Trump needs to go.

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Tuesday :: July 30, 2019

Tuesday Night TV and Open Thread

We already have a debate thread up, so I'm moving on to other TV topics. The Bachelorette's ratings have been gold this season and last's night first half of the finale reached 7.1 million viewers. Telemundo is really happy with the ratings for La Reina del Sur, which had its finale last night. In fact, Telemundo has crowned the show the Queen of Primetime.

I loved this season of La Reina del Sur and watched every one of the 60 episodes, most of them twice. There were so many plot twists, many of which I did not see coming, and the action was non-stop. Kate del Castillo and the entire cast went all in -- terrific performances by all. The only thing I didn't care for was the ending. It was a cliff-hanger. Considering it took 8 years to film the second season, does this mean we have to wait to 2027 for the next one? [More...]

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Detroit Debates: Night One

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are both debating tonight in Detroit. Will they take on each other or go after Biden/Harris or tackle Donald Trump?

Also participating: former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Marianne Williamson, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, and a new face, Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Here are their podium positions, which is determined by polling status.

The debate will start at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. Politico has this guide to tonight's debate.

If you want the Cliff Notes version, CNN has this guide of where each of them stand on the issues. [More...]

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Sunday :: July 28, 2019

Jared's Most Excellent Middle East Adventures Continue On Our Dime

Jared Kushner and his team are traveling to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar this week. It's about trying to get support for what he calls a mideast peace plan, which has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders. This trip is just one month after a previous trip he took to Bahrain to sell interest in his plan.

Hani Abu Aker, a political analyst, told The Media Line from Gaza City that the Bahrain workshop failed to yield the results Kushner was hoping for, and the upcoming visit could be an attempt to keep whatever momentum the presidential adviser thinks he has going.

...The Palestinians boycotted the Bahrain conference and harshly criticized President Trump’s approach to the conflict....Fatah leader Rafaat Elyan told The Media Line that the US administration had no credibility and was “incapable” of conducting any mediations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

...Defense and government analyst Amir Oren told The Media Line... “Nothing is expected to come out of this mission, as [with] all others in this futile effort,” Oren said. ‘The only purpose is to show motion – even if without movement – and score political points with Donald Trump’s Evangelical base.”


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Castro Calls Trump's Electon Strategy "Racial Priming"

Former Housing Secretary and Democratic Presidential contender Julian Castro said today on Face the Nation (transcript with auto-play video):

There is a pattern here. This guy is the biggest identity politician that we have seen in the last 50 years and he engages in what's known as racial priming. Basically using this language and taking actions to try and get people to move into their camps by racial and ethnic identity. That's how he thinks he won in 2016 and that's how he thinks he's going to win in 2020.

On Trump's comments about Elijah Cumminhgs and Baltimore, Castro said:

I absolutely think it's important for us to call it out for what it is, which is racism.

He cited multiple instances of Trump's use of racially charged comments since he began his campaign in 2016 and said despite his hesitancy to use the word "racist", that is what Donald Trump is: [More...]

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Saturday :: July 27, 2019

The Choices According to Donald Trump

In a two-punch whammy this week, Donald Trump brought back the death penalty and then, by packing the Supreme Court with conservative judges, got approval to use billions of dollars awarded to the military for his useless border wall, even though Congress had refused to authorize the expenditure.

Donald Trump's message to the American people: "You can eat dirt, or you can eat sh!t."

This should be the final nail in Trump's political coffin, but the Democrats seem in disarray. Until some of the 20 or so Democrats who think they should be President realize they are too old, or don't have a chance or are in it only to bring attention to one or two of their pet issues, it will likely be another lost opportunity.

(Hat tip on the quote to Teresa Mendoza in the antepenultimate epidsode of the fictional La Reina del Sur 2, referring to a most corrupt DEA agent who will kill anyone who gets in the way of the DEA's plan to choose the next President of Mexico. The Finale is Monday night.)

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Thursday :: July 25, 2019

Trump Administration to Resume Executions of Federal Inmates

These are the last three federal executions in the United States. Today, Attorney General William Barr announced that after 16 years without a federal government-sanctioned murder, the Government will resume executing inmates sentenced to death in a federal court.

Presently, there are 62 such inmates in the U.S. AG Barr also announced today the first five on deck to be killed. [More...]

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Monday :: July 22, 2019

Mueller to Testify Wednesday

Robert Mueller will testify Wednesday. The New York Times has these questions for him.

But, it recommends, don't get your hopes up:

There is virtually no chance that will happen when he testifies for about five hours before two congressional committees this week. It took weeks of negotiations just to persuade him to show up. He has already said that his testimony won’t go beyond what is in the 448-page report he delivered, and he urged people to read it.

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Miguel Caro-Quintero Released From Prison

With a little help from the First Step Act, Mexican drug trafficker Miguel Caro-Quintero, brother of Rafael Caro-Quintero, has finished his 17 year prison sentence and been released, presumably to ICE which will return him to Mexico.

Caro-Quintero did not cooperate. He was scheduled to be released in October, 2019, but under the new First Step Act, which changes the way BOP calculates an inmate's 54 days a year good time, he was entitled to another 7 days per year. (Until now, due to the way it was calculated, 54 days actually translated to 47 days). So his release date moved up from October to July 19.

Contrary to some news reports, Caro Quintero was not released from SuperMax in Florence. He has been serving his sentence since at least 2016 at Victorville, California, a medium security prison. [More...]

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