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Khashoggi: CIA Assessment and Reports of Prior Marriage

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have secretly gotten married in the U.S. last June.

The Washington Post reports a CIA assessment of Khashoggi's murder led the agency to conclude the Crown Prince ordered it.

The CIA assessment relies in part on a phone call that was intercepted by Intelligence between the Crown Prince's brother, who is the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and Khashoggi. Apparently, the Ambassador told Khashoggi it was safe to go pick up the documents for his marriage at the Embassy. [More...]

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Mexican Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Decriminalized Marijuana

The Mexican Supreme Court issued two important rulings today on marijuana:

Mexico’s Supreme Court issued two more rulings Wednesday ordering that complainants in individual cases be allowed to use marijuana for recreational purposes, establishing a precedent that a blanket prohibition on pot is unconstitutional.

The court found that adults have a fundamental right to personal development which lets them decide their recreational activities without interference from the state.

“That right is not absolute, and the consumption of certain substances may be regulated, but the effects provoked by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition of its consumption,” the ruling said.

The rulings establish that Mexico's laws prohibiting marijuana use are unconstitutional but it is still up to the Mexican Congress to pass a law legalizing marijuana.

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Happy Halloween, TV and Open Thread

It's really cold here -- I sure wouldn't want to be a trick or treater.

If you are staying in (or just getting back home with your candy), it's a good night for TV. Here's what I've been watching:

  • On Amazon Prime: The Romanoffs (Except for episode 4 which may have been the most boring TV I've seen in ages)
  • Exathlon U.S. on Telemundo: Extreme Sports competition I've been watching for months. The finale is Sunday night. You can catch up with some segments here or on You Tube.
  • Rosario Tijeras on Netflix(The 2010 Colombian version, not the later Mexican remake.) It's 60 episodes but they go fast (and there's subtitles and no commercials).

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Sleazy Phony Fraudlent Attempt to Discredit Mueller

Even considering all the slimy attempts by various Republicans to promote fake news we know about, this one stands apart as pretty outrageous.

A company that appears to be run by a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist offered to pay women to make false claims against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the days leading up to the midterm elections—and the special counsel's office has asked the FBI to weigh in. “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr told me in an email on Tuesday.

According to the Atlantic, the phony sleazy attempt to discredit Mueller leads back to a company named Surefire Intelligence and a man named Jack Burkman. (I remember Burkman from having appeared on cable TV segments arguing against him in the Clinton years. He seemed like a jerk then and apparently has only increased that perception in later years. [More...]

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Pipe Bombs in the Hands of Trump Supporters

Donald Trump blames the media for the suspicious packages containing pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats/liberals.

The FBI statement is here.

Sorry, Trump, but the culprits are your under-informed supporters (as is evident from the multiple misspellings and misaddressed packages alone. i.e., "Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s last name lacked an “h” in Schultz. Her address in Florida was spelled “Florids.” Mr. Brennan’s name was missing an “n.”"). [More....]

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Trump Makes Threats Over Caravan

Donald Trump is threatening to cut aid money to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala if the migrant caravan is not stopped. He's also threatening to send the military to the southern border with Mexico.

Vox reports the caravan is unlikely to make it across the Mexican border. [More...]

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Kavanaugh Sworn In: Trump Bloviates, SNL Laughs

Not as funny as last week's cold open on Kavanaugh with Matt Damon, but still quite good.

In real life last night, Donald Trump answered questions from a Fox News Host after his rally in Kansas. The depth of his fake news statements made my head spin. He can't really believe this stuff. I guess he knows his core, under-informed fanboy base can't be bothered to watch real news, which makes them over-susceptible to his nonsense.

We are three weeks to November. Please do your part to get out the vote. If you don't, your children and grandchildren may never forgive you.

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Kavenaugh Comes Out Strong and Angry

For those who thought it was all over, think again. Brett Kavanaugh is angry, very angry. And he's credible.

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“Kavanaughed”: Who Will Agree to Serve in Public Office After This Charade?

It is hard enough to find qualified, smart people to run for office as it is. I’d bet in the 70’s to 90’s, hundreds if not thousands of well-qualified people refused to run for elected office or judgeships due to worry about whether they could pass the FBI’s background checks on drug use. No one cares about drug use now, it’s ubiquitous and a fact of life, in large part due to our government’s backwards policies on drug laws. Now the issue is disqualification due to 35-year old groping and indecent exposure allegations dating back to high school and freshman year in college. People are so worked up about it, they are ready to bring out the firing squad. Even though the target of their socially or politically motivated hatred hasn’t been charged with a crime, convicted of a crime and there’s been no confirmation a crime ever happened.

In other words, people now think it’s just fine to assume the male is guilty of whatever accusation is hurled his way. Why? Because other women chose to suffer in silence at perceived indignities they suffered way back when and see this as a chance to get even? There’s a big difference between taking accusations seriously and assuming the accusation is true. The former calls for an investigation, which may be appropriate. But nothing justifies the latter (i.e., the assumption the accusation is true) prior to a hearing or trial before a neutral and detached magistrate or tribunal. That’s the law in America. For everyone. [More...]

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S.C. Prepares for Florence

Hurricane Florence is set to hit South Carolina. More than a million people have been evacuated from coastal areas -- Even Walmart has closed its doors.

Lane reversal has begun on the highways, and will last until 6 hours before Florence is set to touch down.

If you are in the vicinity, please stay safe and let us know how you are faring.

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George Papadopoulos Sentenced to 14 Days in Jail

Update: George Papadopoulos, the first Trump associate to be sentenced in the Mueller probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, has been sentenced to 14 days in jail and 1 year supervised release for the crime of making false statements to the F.B.I. I assume he got a voluntary surrender -- I wonder where he will be designated to serve the sentence. Since he lives in Chicago, it could be this Residential Re-entry Facility.

Here is Papadopoulos' Sentencing Memorandum. Here is the Government's Sentencing Memorandum.

Update: According to reporters in the courtroom, Papadopoulos' lawyer told the Judge, " "The President of the United States hindered the investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever did.” He also said Papadopoulos was motivated to lie in part by Trump characterizing investigation as “Fake news.” CNN has more here. [More...]

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CA Gov Signs Bill Eliminating Cash Bonds

CA Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill today eliminating cash bail for arrestees.

Instead of having to post a cash bond, the court will conduct a "risk assessment" to determine whether they should be released on electronic monitoring or detained pending trial.

The bill is supposed to eliminate disparate treatment of the economically challenged who can't afford bail. But the ACLU forsees other problems developing due to handing the decision off to judges. [More...]

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Stephen Miller's Uncle Calls Him Out on Immigration

Imagine having your mother's brother give you a public smack-down in writing for ignoring your heritage and working for a boss who engages in the same tactics as the Nazis to instill fear of immigrants in Americans.

Meet Dr. David S. Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist: formerly a member of the Neurology faculties of Boston University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College. His op-ed in today's Politico is titled, Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle."

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

[More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. I'd like nothing better than to hang around today and chat, but I'm about to head up to the jail in Georgetown. Georgetown is the last exit on I-70 heading west from Denver before the Eisenhower tunnel. It's a beautiful day for the ride.

I know there's a Russian indictment and a new Supreme Court Justice and Donald Trump is out of the Country. Rising on the UK Music charts: Green Day's "American Idiot".

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Trump Wanted to Invade Venezuela

Donald Trump pressed his aides on why the U.S. couldn't just invade Venezuela. He also floated the idea to leaders of Latin and South American countries, like Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia.

He raised it again at a dinner, and even told the foreign leaders his staff said he shouldn't talk about it:

Then in September, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Santos, the same three people said and Politico reported in February. The U.S. official said Trump was specifically briefed not to raise the issue and told it wouldn’t play well, but the first thing the president said at the dinner was, “My staff told me not to say this.” Trump then went around asking each leader if they were sure they didn’t want a military solution, according to the official, who added that each leader told Trump in clear terms they were sure.

Will America survive a reality TV star with zero political experience who knows nothing about history and is viewed around the world as an unpredictable petulant child to be snickered at and swatted away like a fly? Probably, but we'll never be the same. In one and half years, the idea of America as the beacon of liberty in the world has become a joke.

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