Sunday Open Thread

I'm trying to get some work done this weekend as I recuperate. I've been reading the news about every other day. For TV, I've watched only the Aspen X Games. The Women's Snowboard Super Pipe last night was terrific, one great performance after another. Here is Chloe Kim who won the gold. Arielle Gold's Silver run is here. Maddie Mastro got the Bronze. Women's Big Ski Air is on today at noon, MT.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    The jokes (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 04:59:54 PM EST
    ...write themselves.

    Typically a SOTU speech lasts about 90 minutes.  According to Stormy Daniels, we can expect the climax of the speech to take place about 30 seconds before it starts.


    Speaking of the Aspen X games, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by fishcamp on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 06:45:43 PM EST
    the house I built and lived in for 27 of my forty years in Aspen is less than one mile up the hill from the games.  I'm sure there are traffic problems in my old hood.  

    Thankfully I had retired from competitive ski racing before these acrobatic events began.  I have done aerial somersaults but they were totally unplanned.  These kids are quite incredible

    .  I'm also glad they didn't have speed skiing back then.  In the mid eighties I filmed speed skiing in Cervenia, Italy where they went 140 mph.  The current record is 152 mph on skis..  I'm happy living in the slow lane.

    Ted Lieu delivers a zinger: (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 04:47:34 PM EST
    Congressman Ted Lieu:

        As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I read the partisan, classified Nunes House Intel memo. I can't talk about it. However, here's an analogy.

        Remember Geraldo Rivera and the infamous Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults? It's like that, but Geraldo Rivera has more integrity.

    There seems to be an (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 04:57:35 PM EST
    Effort to walk back expectations.  

    Game on (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 05:07:21 PM EST
    they just voted on party lines to release the  Nunes' memo and hide the Dem memo.

    They will stop at nothing to obstruct the investigation.


    That was a pretty amazing (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 05:20:13 PM EST
    Presser.  It feels a bit like the coyote just lit the ACME rocket.

    Some pundits (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 06:26:47 PM EST
    are saying it is getting close to being over and so the GOP is throwing everything out they have in a desperate attempt. You know cornered rats and all that.

    More (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 05:24:47 PM EST
    from the "it was just about adoptions" files.
    The Moscow operation behind the now-infamous Russian-Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 included a direct attempt to enlist a foreign country's law-enforcement official as a virtual double-agent, according to a court case in Switzerland.

    One of Switzerland's top investigators has been fired after allegations of bribery, violating secrecy laws, and "unauthorized clandestine behavior" in meeting with the very same Russian actors linked to the Trump Tower encounter.

    Naughty Natalia sure does get around
    The reports, which are based on Swiss court papers, describe how K. was lured to Moscow during a call from Karapetyan before Christmas 2016. He was told not to go by his boss, ostensibly because he was working too much overtime, but he made the trip anyway, using his diplomatic passport to fly to the Russian capital. There, he was put up in a luxury hotel and asked to attend an unexpected meeting with Veselnitskaya.

    Good post and good link (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by linea on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:38:14 PM EST
    No surprise here:

    The interest of Veselnitskaya and the Russian prosecutor general's office is likely to be linked back to a $230 million tax fraud that was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was working for Bill Browder, whose Hermitage Capital had major investments in Russia. After discovering the massive financial crime that could be linked back to the Russian government, Magnitsky was arrested, beaten, and allowed to die in a Russian jail cell.

    Another close call. The 20-week abortion ban (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 05:29:20 PM EST
    failed in the Senate. Got 51 votes when it needed 60. The female senators of both parties saved us from this cruel and unconstitutional proposal.

    Frank Figluizzi on Chis Hayes (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 07:32:49 PM EST
    Just said something very interesting.

    Nunes announced today the House is opening an investigation into the FBI and the Justice Department.

    He said he thinks this is laying the groundwork to give Trump an out to refuse to testify for Mueller.   According to Figluizzi he can now try to say because of the congressional investigation, because of "mistrust" in the Justice dept and the FBI he will say he can not do the interview while there is a congressional investigation.

    This sounds right to me.  

    But, he also said if Trump does this Mueller will go to a grand jury to get a straight up subpoena for TRump to testify.

    It could get very interesting.

    Carter Page (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 07:39:44 AM EST
    The almost certain to be indicted former nobody in the Trump campaign seems a strange hill for republicans to choose to die on.

    What am I missing?

    This would be a good day for more indictments.  SOTU and all.

    Oh, not to worry. DJT (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:16:03 AM EST
    only knows what the media has reported re the Nunes memo. But DJT, although he favors release, will review b/4 release.  [Snk.]

    I thought the same (none / 0) (#73)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 02:37:11 PM EST
    thing? They're going to the mat for Carter Page?

    I'm (none / 0) (#74)
    by FlJoe on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 03:53:25 PM EST
    pretty sure the target is Rosenstein, the only thin gruel they have on him is the Fisa warrant on Page who has been on the FBI's radar for years.

    Carter pages action before, during and after the campaign screamed "look at me" to the Intel agencies. His trip to Russia during the campaign sure raised this amateurs eyebrows and I had no idea of the back story.


    Thin gruel (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:34:36 PM EST
    it is considering the fact that the FBI probably had Carter Page being under a FISA warrant since around oh, 2013.

    Not only that (none / 0) (#83)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:42:14 PM EST
    All Rosenstein did was renew the FISA warrant.  Which means it had not only already been issued but had already yielded info.

    Michelle Bachmann (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Feb 02, 2018 at 09:44:53 AM EST
    heard from god about her running for US Senate.

    oh, my (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 02, 2018 at 12:24:39 PM EST
    that is funny!

    At least 265 people claim to be victims of (2.00 / 2) (#104)
    by McBain on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 10:57:59 AM EST
    Larry Nassar.  How likely is that to be true?
    I agree somewhat with Nassar's lawyer here...
    "I have a very hard time believing that my client could have even possibly assaulted that many people day in and day out in front of their parents, and that every single one of those things was a crime, but he was such a manipulator he got away with it. I just can't imagine that's true," she said. "As much as they were allowed to speak at sentencing, and that was something we agreed to, even during the sentencing, more and more people were coming forward thinking, 'I was fine my whole life and now all of a sudden I have realized I was a survivor.' I think that's really sad."

    This is one of the problems of high profile cases/movements. It's hard to tell who the actual  victims are.  Some might be relying on false memories.

    Another problem is the death threats Nassar's lawyer has received.

    "At first I'm terrified but then when I realize the people are actually far away, it's very obvious they have no education and I can't imaging the resources to come to Michigan to get me, but it's certainly been scary," she said. "I look into each one and I have taken some of them over to police."

    Through decades? Sure. Do the math (5.00 / 4) (#105)
    by Towanda on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 11:14:57 AM EST
    or be an apologizer for an abuser, McBain.

    So, how many would be a reasonable (5.00 / 4) (#106)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 11:33:58 AM EST
    number of victims?  I can't imagine that you'd say that if it was only 100 or 75 or 50 victims, you'd find them any more believable.

    And you do realize the abuses took place over 17 years, right (which works out to an average of 16 victims per year)?  And that he had thousands of images of child p-*rn on his computer.

    And that he admitted to the abuse.

    There sure doesn't seem to be much awareness, on the lawyer's part or on yours, of the culture of the gymnastics world that makes the kinds of things Nassar did possible.  Or the many complaints lodged with MSU and people associated with USA Gymnastics - so he had institutional help.

    Or even much awareness of the dynamic of an abusive relationship that involves an authority figure.  Or a university or a gymnastics program that had a financial interest in turning a blind eye to the abuse.

    I realize she's just doing her job, but the way the attorney has characterized the victims is offensive, and is one of the reasons people don't come forward.  Along with attitudes you have so often expressed.

    So no surprise that you've popped in with your usual polite implications that females just cannot be trusted - even when they are as young as 11.  


    Have you no decency?


    Havine images of child p*orn (2.00 / 4) (#107)
    by McBain on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 12:13:45 PM EST
    and an admission of guilt in a court of law doesn't mean he assaulted 265 people.   I'm very skeptical of that number. I'm very skeptical of someone getting a fair trial in an emotionally charged high profile case.  Just look at your comment.  Anyone who questions the guilt or fairness of the trial will be criticized. Even the trial judge made some unfortunate comments.

    The lack of self awareness (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by CST on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 12:56:33 PM EST
    Everyone else is "emotionally charged" but you are able to see things through clear eyes apparently?

    You don't think you're bringing your own bias to this, and every other case?


    I'm far from perfect (1.00 / 2) (#113)
    by McBain on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:06:54 PM EST
    but seeing through media, political and emotionally charged BS is something I'm good at.  

    I don't know exactly what Nassar is guilty of.  I'm not ready to throw away the key just because it's the popular/ socially acceptable thing to do.  It's always easy to speak out against pedophiles, murderers, the worse of the worst.  It's not so easy to talk about the accused not getting a fair shake.


    He pled guilty - there was no trial, (5.00 / 3) (#116)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:36:05 PM EST
    no jury, so where's the sensationalism?

    He pled guilty.

    I think, based on your comments, that you don't really know much about the case.

    Maybe read this, from Vox, which goes into a great deal of detail.

    It wasn't just Nassar, either - there's a reason the president of MSU and the entire board of USA Gymnastics all resigned.

    And the most recent case wasn't the only case.

    Nassar, after initially denying the allegations of abuse and defending vaginal penetration as part of his medical treatment, pleaded guilty in two Michigan counties to a total of 10 counts of criminal sexual assault. The cases all involve women or girls who were assaulted by Nassar during the course of a medical examination, except one girl -- a family friend of Nassar's whom he abused for six years, between the ages of 6 and 12.

    In addition to the charges in Michigan, federal prosecutors charged Nassar in December 2016 with possession of child pOrnography, saying that the doctor had about 37,000 explicit images in his possession. Investigators discovered this cache while executing a search warrant related to an investigation into sex abuse allegations against Nassar, which stemmed from his work with USA Gymnastics.

    Nassar ultimately agreed to plead guilty in July to the possession of child p*rn, but as part of the deal, he avoided the more serious federal sex abuse charges, which ESPN reported included allegations that he molested children in his home, in his pool, and during "interstate/international travel." A judge sentenced him to 60 years in prison -- the maximum prosecutors had asked for -- last month. The sentencing this week is for the criminal sexual abuse charges.

    His guilty pleas were part of a deal that spared him being charged with more and perhaps worse crimes.  So, when you say you don't know what he's guilty of, he's at least guilty of the crimes for which he admitted guilt, and more that he avoided having to plead guilty to.

    Larry Nassar didn't get a fair shake?  Really?  

    And you don't bring bias to these cases?  Could have fooled me.


    To put it another way (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by CST on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 12:58:40 PM EST
    How many patients do you think he saw in that time period?

    Why wouldn't he do it as frequently as he thought he could get away with it, which history taught him was quite frequently?

    There's no logic in your assertion.  You call everyone else emotionally charged but you're not bringing any critical thinking yourself.  You're just essentially saying it can't be true - based on your own feelings.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#111)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:01:24 PM EST
    A trial judge making unfortunate comments (none / 0) (#112)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:03:33 PM EST
    At his sentencing has nothing to do with the evidence that convicted him.

    I am also... (none / 0) (#114)
    by Jack E Lope on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:08:12 PM EST
    ...very skeptical of someone getting a fair trial in an emotionally-charged high-profile case.  

    But this is the bargaining stage for this case.  His attorney says that some of the accusers may be false, in her apparent attempt to reduce the sentence.  (I wonder what her goal might be - to keep it under 100 years?)

    I also expect that there will be some additional victims who have kept quiet.   I don't know how to account for those.  If we're going to speculate about one category, shouldn't we consider the other?


    Absolutely (2.00 / 2) (#115)
    by McBain on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:26:42 PM EST
    If Nassar is a mass abuser, it's logical to consider some of his victims might not want to come forward. However, I'm not comfortable convicting and sentencing someone based on what they might have done.

    My skepticism is about the 265 alleged victims, especially when I hear quotes like this

    "There are black holes in my memory that come back as nightmares and flashbacks,"

    To be clear, I'm not accusing that woman of lying. I'm just saying it raises some questions about repressed memories.

    "His attorney says that some of the accusers may be false, in her apparent attempt to reduce the sentence.  (I wonder what her goal might be - to keep it under 100 years?)"

    I assume  her goal is to give Nassar the best defensive possible.  


    I read your comments (5.00 / 4) (#118)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 02:14:49 PM EST
    And I wonder what you've done that you can't stand sexual predators being held accountable.

    He wasn't convicted and sentenced (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Feb 02, 2018 at 08:17:13 AM EST
    for what he "might" have done. He was convicted and sentenced FOR WHAT HE ADMITTED he did. How hard is that to comprehend. HE PLEADED GUILTY!

    A trial judge making unfortunate comments (none / 0) (#117)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 02:13:07 PM EST
    At his sentencing has nothing to do with the evidence that convicted him.

    How many female patients (none / 0) (#110)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 01:00:29 PM EST
    Did he treat in his career?

    COUNTERPART (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 03:18:19 PM EST
    New series on STARZ with J K Simmons, always underrated IMO.

    Episode 2 is tonight.  You can watch the first on the app.

    It's very good.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Towanda on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:34:35 PM EST
    We just watched the first episode, and it was riveting.

    Simmons long has been a favorite of mine, always leaving me wanting more screen time for him in his bit parts. It's great to see him in a lead role.


    Note to self: late night is too (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:11:04 AM EST
    late to be watching something that takes some attention and thought to follow...yes, I dozed off and then had no idea what the heck was going on.

    Will start over earlier tonight!

    What I did see I was intrigued by - and I do like J. K. Simmons a lot (his talents are wasted in his commercials for Farmers Insurance).


    Simmons is talented (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 12:28:00 AM EST
    and memorable.

    But, I just do not like the guy for some vague reason....He seems arrogant and not a guy I would have much to say to.


    He killed it in Whiplash (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 10:56:00 AM EST
    as the music teacher from hell.

    A role for which he prepared by listening to the secret recordings made by the guys in Buddy Rich's band of Buddy going off.


    For which (none / 0) (#59)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:04:08 AM EST
    He got an OSCAR

    Simmons was excellent. (none / 0) (#79)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:31:02 PM EST
    His performance in "Whiplash" reminded me of my own former high school choir teacher -- a middle-aged, high-strung and verbally abusive martinet who'd stop us mid-chord whenever somebody missed a note, turn red-faced, pound on the piano in tantrum-like fashion and scream at all of us in his high-pitched banshee-like voice:

    "A-sharp!" - hitting the requisite piano key repeatedly for emphasis - "What's so hard about A-sharp! You people are worthless, worse than useless!!!"

    Mr. Congeniality had absolutely terrible rapport with teenagers, and turned what should've otherwise been a fun and rewarding activity into a thoroughly miserable experience, and one which we had to endure on a daily basis.

    Not surprisingly, I quit choir after 9th grade.


    Yes (none / 0) (#57)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 07:50:12 AM EST
    But I disagree a bit with the IGN link.  COUNTERPART is excellent.  But THE ALIENIST is the best new series so far this year.

    Saw the third episode last night.  Amazing.  So well done.  Such shocking portrayals of child prostitution.  But not gratuitous.  

    It's important that people understand this happened and was accepted as part of city life.

    I feel sure most people do not know.  And it's not an acceptable subject.  

    And Dakota Fanning is excellent as the glass ceiling breaking lead.  She plays the first woman employed by the NYPD (a secretary) for anything but she scrubbing floors and what she endures is almost as shocking as what the poor ghetto kids do.


    I like Alienist (and liked the book) (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Towanda on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 01:01:07 PM EST
    but it is so dark, difficult to see some scenes.

    I imagine that is historically accurate for interiors of buildings at the time -- we needed to add a lot of lighting to our home from that era --
     but it detracts from viewing today for us.


    Yes, a lot like (none / 0) (#75)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 04:44:42 PM EST
    The Knick series in that regard.

    Btw (none / 0) (#60)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:09:52 AM EST
    Some of the critical reviews have a point.  Caleb Carr, the author, is a historian.
    The depiction of NYC is really the star.

    I have no problem with that.


    This show is in my DVR, so will (none / 0) (#62)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:13:20 AM EST
    probably watch a couple episodes at a time.

    Have you seen Mosaic?  I've recorded this, too, and watched about half of the first episode; not sure if it's going to hold my attention - I'm not really a big Sharon Stone fan.


    Have not seen MOSAIC (none / 0) (#63)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:16:00 AM EST
    For the same reason.

    Give ALIENIST to at least episode 3


    Mosaic was maddening (none / 0) (#70)
    by Towanda on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    after six hours to see no answers.  It's a mystery, so we are to watch closely and solve it.  But clues go nowhere, solutions are not given . . . except online, it turns out, as there are hours of video on the app that are not in the tv version.  And I have other issues with it.

    But for those who also dislike Sharon Stone, this is the show for you.  She plays a despicable character that you love to hate . . . and then she is dead and essentially gone, but for a few flashbacks, after the first two hours.


    Didn't Sharon (none / 0) (#71)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 01:32:08 PM EST
    Stone just have some awful, Kenny-Rogers-like cosmetic surgery?

    I am watching Mosaic (none / 0) (#72)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 01:59:50 PM EST
    now thanks to this thread.  

    Sharon Stone is attractive and intelligent but there is not a guy in the country who doesn't remember her comment about her boyfriend Dwight Yoakum being "as dumb as a dirt sandwich."  


    I loved the book, (none / 0) (#67)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:31:43 AM EST
    and thankfully do not remember all of the plot twists, so I will enjoy the series.

    I've only seen Ep 1, but it looks promising!


    I just got the book (none / 0) (#81)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:34:35 PM EST
    This is excellent (none / 0) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:53:11 AM EST
    IGN (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:57:22 AM EST
    Watched the first episode of the new Waco (none / 0) (#3)
    by McBain on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 05:13:07 PM EST
    miniseries on the Paramount Network the other night.  It had a made for TV feel about it but wasn't bad at all.  So far, I like Taylor Kitsch as David Koresch.  There's a funny scene where he tells a new Branch Davidian that all the men but him (Koresch) must remain celibate because that's how God wants it. Which begs the question, why would anyone join a cult if they couldn't have sex?  I guess several people were so impressed with Koresch's memorization and interpretation of the bible that they truly believed he was a messiah.

    I like how the first episode shows the Ruby Ridge standoff and how that might tie in with Waco but I doubt the series will answer any of the tough questions I've asked before like...

    Why did the FBI bulldoze the Mount Carmel compound after it burned to the ground which destroyed the crime scene?

    Were any of the Branch Dividians shot at while trying to escape from their burning home?

    I have a friend (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 05:25:55 PM EST
    Who was a CNN cameraman at the time, got the Waco gig. So he camped out with some talking head for a month and a half of immense boredom, waiting for something to happen. And then when it did, it ALL did.

    And CNN was there.

    Same guy got the OJ trial gig, hung out in front of the courthouse the whole time, full time pay for camping out long periods of time just in case.


    What was his take of the final siege? (none / 0) (#5)
    by McBain on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 05:55:24 PM EST
    Did he tell you anything interesting?  

    I'm sure (none / 0) (#6)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 06:22:02 PM EST
    ...that we talked about it at the time but that was a while ago. I'll ask next time I see him.

    The reason the guy (none / 0) (#7)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 06:27:39 PM EST
    ...was the go-to cameraman is that he wasn't married, and didn't need to make many arrangements when they wanted him to sit around somewhere a long way from home for months on end.

    Great pay for a boring job.


    One of the (none / 0) (#8)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Jan 28, 2018 at 06:43:53 PM EST
    ...main arguments I see on less rational discussion groups ((cough - Disqus - cough) which are infested with Russki trolls is, "What's the crime?  Where are the charges? All that work and you have two guys for lying, but not for any real crime that links Trump to Russia."

    I also see comments from those concerned that even though an expected Democratic majority in the House may vote articles of impeachment, no amount of process charges against underlings will get a Trump impeachment past the jury of the Senate.

    I beg to differ with both those views.

    We are seeing an all star big league legal team up against a bunch of DUI lawyers.

    Mr. Mueller has the goods. He has mountains of stuff easily proved to a jury on everybody, including The Boss. This guy and his team are the best prosecutors, in the most target rich environment a prosecutor has ever seen. They are in the enviable position that they have literally hundreds of charges at their disposal to bargain with.  Dozens of people, many whose names we have never heard, are going down to one extent or another, the extent depending entirely on Mr. Mueller.

    Mr. Mueller is going to charge and convict everyone who ever had breakfast with Trump. That will strip him of his allies, and expose the conspiracy so completely that no one, not even the hardest-core Nazi could deny it.

    For the country's sake, ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 02:59:35 AM EST
    ... I do hope you're right, and I hope that we're closer to the end than to the beginning. Given last week's revelations -- particularly Thursday's bombshell in the Dutch magazine De Volkskrant that should disspell any and all remaining doubts that the Russian intelligence services were behind the 2016 cyberattack on the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign -- I can't imagine enduring another three years of this.

    De Volkskrant | January 25, 2018
    Dutch agencies provide crucial intel about Russia's interference in US-elections - "Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD have provided the FBI with crucial information about Russian interference with the American elections. For years, AIVD had access to the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. That's what de Volkskrant and Nieuwsuur have uncovered in their investigation."

    (Not long after the July 2014 downing of Malaysiair Flight No. 17 by a Russian ABM battery in the Ukraine while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing 298 passengers and crew -- including 193 Dutch citizens -- Holland's intelligence services had not only penetrated the GRU-affiliated hacking operation "Cozy Bear" in Moscow, they had even hacked into the building's surveillance system and could both watch and identify everyone as they came, worked and went. This was how and why the FBI knew with a high degree of certainty in the fall of 2016 that the Russians were behind the DNC / Clinton cyberattacks the prior spring.)

    Most sane Republicans in Congress have to realize at this point that if Robert Mueller is allowed to complete his work, this is likely not going to end well at all for the GOP. So, they're going to do either one of two things.

    They'll either hang together with Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes and the Trump White House, and make the supreme effort to first shut down the Mueller inquiry and then try to ride out the inevitable public backlash as best they can.

    Or, a good number of them will lose their nerve, break ranks and join the Democrats in a congressional coalition, dumping Ryan and Mitch McConnell in the process, in the hope that they can salvage something in the forthcoming train wreck -- even if it's only their personal dignity.



    I think (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 06:50:54 AM EST
    you can probably count on them hanging with Trump mostly because they fear a tea party inspired primary more than anything else it seems. Never have I seen a more cowardly and craven bunch than this group led by the most craven Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Those two leaders are going to go down in the annals of history as basically traitors to the US.

    Max Boot has said that he thinks the GOP as it is currently constructed cannot be saved and should be disbanded. I'm beginning to think he is right.


    Important (none / 0) (#16)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 08:45:45 AM EST
    dead line today
    President Donald Trump's willingness to crack down on Russia will be seriously tested come Monday.

    Trump faces a major deadline to use the Russia sanctions power that Congress overwhelmingly voted to give him -- and it's anybody's guess as to whether he'll comply on time after missing the last deadline.

     Will he name names as mandated overwhelmingly by congress?
    The Treasury Department is required to begin imposing sanctions against entities doing business with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors as well as to produce a hotly anticipated list of oligarchs maintaining close ties to Putin.

    Trump has notified (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 06:08:10 PM EST
    Congress he WILL NOT be implementing new sanctions against Russia.

    They passed in the Senate 98 to 2 and something like that in the House.

    It will be interesting to see if this spurs any spine growth in republicans.


    But (none / 0) (#76)
    by FlJoe on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 04:53:50 PM EST
    they did release their little list
    A "name-and-shame" list of Russian oligarchs who made their money corruptly from their ties with Vladimir Putin was compiled by the US government agencies but then cancelled last week by a senior administration official, according to a Russia expert who was consulted on the list.

    with  minor revisions of course
    It was replaced by an all-inclusive list of rich Russians apparently copied straight from the Forbes magazine's ranking of wealthy Russians, together with the names of some top Kremlin officials.
    That will show them dirty Ruskies.

    The whole "Russia is our new BFF" thing (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:28:43 PM EST
    Is way more insidious and complex than popular culture is capable of understanding I think.

    For Trumps supporters, brains eroded by right wing propaganda as they are, Russia and Putin have it figured out.  They don't waste time explaining their actions to annoying reporters.  They just kill them.  Same with gays and whoever else gets to bothersome.

    Trumps supporters see Russia as a model for the 21st century.

    When Khrushchev said 'we will bury you' who could have known he meant in our own bullshi+.

    We are about to be tested.  I think


    Bingo (none / 0) (#84)
    by FlJoe on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:44:40 PM EST
    Our Oligarchs are jealous of Putin's gang.

    And who could of guessed that Republicans would be driving the bulldozer.

    On my darkest days I think we have already failed the test.


    The scariest part (none / 0) (#86)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:52:57 PM EST
    IMO is its not just the rich, who you can sort understand in some twisted way.  It's the great unwashed also.  They are howling for a strongman.

    The mind bending irony is they think this flabby short fingered vulgarian is a "strong man".

    Then I guess you could have said the same thing about Adolphs limp wristed heil.


    And I really think (none / 0) (#87)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:54:45 PM EST
    The test is still to come

    To paraphrase somebody (none / 0) (#77)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:22:44 PM EST
    I could carve better people from a bunch of bananas

    I, too, hope (none / 0) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 11:41:53 AM EST
    that R.R's arguments are right and mine are wrong.  But, this is where I am, at this point:

     As George Tenet might say, obstruction of justice is a "slam dunk."   The relevant statute states, any individual who "corruptly ...influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due administration of justice is guilty of a crime."

      Of course, the key here is "corruptly."   But, even on this score, Trump's position is clearly perilous based just on the public record, without knowledge of Mueller's evidence (e.g., public evidence of firing Comey for the wrong reasons, such as the multiple fake reasons, betrayed as such by Trump, himself, ..Comey was mean to Hillary; attempt to fire Mueller using apparent pretexts such as golf dues, job interview, and law firm conflicts).

    If a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime, the cure is left to the political process: impeachment/conviction--by Congress.. a Republican Congress.

    In my view, this constitutes a slim chance, made even more so if otherwise stand alone corrupt obstruction is not associated with the (likely astounding) underlying crimes (e.g., conspiracy to undermine the election, espionage, money laundering ).  

    Moreover, Trump is not alone in this mess.  The Republican Party from its key Congressional leaders, to Trump TV, to the recalcitrant Trump voters, are bonded together to stand by their man, no matter what....including not only enablement, but also, complicity.

    My hope is that Mueller, too, realizes this situation, and, as a companion to the obvious obstruction, will lay out the underlying criminal attack on the country.

      And, then what?  Mueller will not be indicting the president.  Rather, he will be sending a report to the Republican Congress, perhaps, with a recommendation to begin the impeachment process.  The attack on Mueller and the DOJ/FBI seen so far, will be child's play; and the report will be ridiculed as fake news.  


    If the leaks (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 06:51:47 AM EST
    are correct then yes, the money laundering case is going to literally shock the entire nation.

    It looks like the House (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 07:46:35 AM EST
    Will vote today to release the Nunes memo against the wishes of the Justice department.

    This is not happening in a vacuum.

    This is counting down.


    George Will (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 08:21:24 AM EST
    Just said something interesting (paraphrase)

    'if this memo is so flagrantly an exercise in cherry picking there is something to be said for letting it out, demonstrating it was cherry picked and examining the motives of the pickers'

    This makes an odd kind of sense.  Giving the idiot republicans the rope to hang themselves.  Again.

    The only problem is to do that even more classified information, the source material, will have to be released and with congress it will probably have to be leaked which in a twisted way republicans might welcome.

    Ill say one thing, any one who says they know what happens next or how this us going to play out is talking out their azz.


    But I completely agree with this (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 08:42:51 AM EST
    Mr. Mueller has the goods.

    Hopefully (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:55:15 AM EST
    he releases the kracken pretty soon. I'm sick of this crap.

    I (none / 0) (#17)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 08:56:11 AM EST
    am sensing a hit job on Rod Rosenstein
    A secret, highly contentious Republican memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate shortly after taking office last spring,
    and it all revolves around Carter Page, of all people.

    That seems the direction (none / 0) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:01:14 AM EST
    It kind of hard to imagine what exactly what they think that will accomplish.  

    Also some talk it's not just him (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:07:37 AM EST
    But the goal is a massive purge of the Justice department.

    That could have real effect but seems unlikely.


    Proving once again how (none / 0) (#20)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:36:02 AM EST
    wholly unqualified these people are to be representatives of the people and entrusted to uphold the Constitution...these people for whom "fake news" is a knee-jerk response to pretty much everything they don't like are totally on board with releasing a memo without any knowledge of the underlying intelligence - or any ability to put what Nunes has written in any kind of context, or to understand what he has left out and what that means.  How is this Nunes-authored memo not the worst kind of fake news?

    Do you think any of them will even ask why the Republican members of the committee voted down a proposal to make the intelligence available to members of Congress?

    Who just takes on trust the musings of a sort-of-recused committee chair who's already demonstrated the he will say and do anything in service to Trump?  Idiots, that's who.  Foaming-at-the-mouth, conspiracy-loving, raving idiots, who've decided to take their cues and their marching orders from the worst of all: the president.

    Now, there may well be citizens who actually deserve this kind of government, and it may also be true that these idiots deserve each other, but the rest of us are entitled to better.  A lot better.  And that can't happen soon enough.


    This (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:53:32 AM EST
    is what happens when you have a press that has let the GOP do a cut and paste on numerous emails over the last 25 years and not burned their sources. The GOP is going to continue to think they can get away with it.

    It seems to me some are (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:56:04 AM EST
    Beginning to skate very close to obstruction

    Pretty sure they think they are (none / 0) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:14:27 AM EST
    just "fighting back" like you-know-who, and are convinced that if there's no crime, there can't be obstruction.

    I still find it hard to understand how people can just be so, well...stupid.  Sad to say, I don't have much patience for stupid, and I especially don't have patience for deliberate stupidity.

    Meanwhile, I can't decide if I have the stomach for the SOTU - but I guess I'm not the only one.  I'm already annoyed that the media is holding out hope that Trump can be presidential.  That this can be another pivot point.

    I am interested to see what Joe Kennedy has to say in response, and I also understand that Maxine Waters is doing some kind of response - on her own, I guess.

    Hope you have come out the other side of the flu adventure with no problems - be careful SOTU doesn't deal you a setback!


    Ha (none / 0) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:18:44 AM EST
    I have a flu recommendation


    You know, the real pleasure is in retirement I don't have to "return to work" even tho I still feel like a squeezed out sponge.


    There is no way (none / 0) (#31)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 11:24:19 AM EST
    I can listen to the dotard for that long a period of time. I AM, however, looking forward to Maxine Waters' response. That will be fun to listen to. She pulls no punches when it comes to the dotard. It will be broadcast on BET.

    Well, there (none / 0) (#33)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 02:42:30 PM EST
    are rumors of up to 120 people being charged with the Trump administration and the GOP looking to have the largest number of indictments in the history of the country, way, way more than Watergate.

    The likes of which, (none / 0) (#34)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 03:03:56 PM EST
    believe me, we have never seen before.

    Which is the very reason (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 03:23:10 PM EST
    I expect Mueller will take as long as it takes to dot every i and cross every t.

    One correction (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:07:40 AM EST
    It's my understanding Nunes himself did not write the memo and remarkably has not even himself read the background material.

    I believe it was written by staff.  None of the republicans who are calling for its release has read the source material.

    You really can't make this stuff up.


    A Nunes staff written document (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:36:55 AM EST
    focusing on carter Page - what's not to like? My only remaining wish is that it be read aloud by Bryan Cranston.

    I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing week.


    A Nunes staff document (none / 0) (#92)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 12:18:54 PM EST
    written with/by White House staff.  My bet.

    He refused to answer (none / 0) (#94)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 12:31:00 PM EST
    When asked if staff worked with the white house.

    Schiff has demanded the transcript be released and one way or another, it will.


    Yes, and the Democrats (none / 0) (#95)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 02:10:33 PM EST
    remedial version...just like Diane Feinstein did to old Grassley.  

    Only (none / 0) (#96)
    by FlJoe on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 03:34:38 PM EST
    the best staff of course
    The congressional staffer who wrote the controversial memo for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was once benchslapped by a federal judge for "ineptitude."
    Patel was issued a rare "order of ineptitude" in 2016 by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, who faulted the lawyer's handling of the prosecution of Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, who was accused of trying to support ISIS.

    ThinkProgress (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:15:22 AM EST
    The right seems to think (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:44:41 AM EST
    that if they keep using the phrase "worse than Watergate" they're somehow going to magically conjur up some event implicating Democrats in the next couple of decades that actually is worse Watergate.

    This is worse than Watergate..Benghazi was worse than Watergate..Fast and Furious was worse than Watergate..Obama surveilling Trump was worse than Watergate..


    `Mueller has the goods... mountains of stuff' (none / 0) (#52)
    by linea on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 10:27:31 PM EST
    This is wildly speculative.

    I'm of the opinion that the entire case of collusion consists of the Trump Tower meeting with Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a number of other people including Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. If an illegal quid pro quo occurred, or possible misprision of felony occurred (the deliberate concealment of one's knowledge of a treasonable act) then it was at this meeting. There won't be some other, yet to be disclosed, meeting involving possible collusion between senior Trump staff and Russian agents that was likely relayed to Donald Trump. In my opinion.

    Certainly, if Mueller is so inclined he could track down all sorts of criminal activities involving money laundering, bank fraud, and tax evasion with any of those people who have business dealings with the Russians. The entire Putin regime, and the Russian government in general, is little more than a criminal organization aligned with the Russian Mafia.


    I think this is a much more (none / 0) (#55)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 06:04:01 AM EST
    complicated web than what you are describing.

    And I don't think the parties involved need to be in the same room in order for a case to be made for some level of conspiracy between and among Trump, his associates of varying closeness to Trump, and a network of Russians involved to varying degrees.

    To my ear, the more times Trump insists there was no collusion and no obstruction, the greater the chances of both.  His efforts to smear and defame and dig up dirt on career DOJ/FBI officials contributes mightily to that possibility.

    Or, it could be that Trump's just a garden-variety a$$hole who's frustrated and irritated that all of the tactics from his Trump Organization playbook are failing, and he's spending most of his time on his butt, having been repeatedly sacked by people he is convinced are way inferior to him.

    Or both.


    Zombie deer disease (none / 0) (#36)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    I think you... (none / 0) (#37)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 04:32:28 PM EST
    mistook Colorado for Wyoming - the other square state.

    The little video said CO (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 04:56:29 PM EST
    Was the "epicenter"

    But yes, all square states look the same to me.

    Personally I think this could explain a lot of the "politics" in red state America.

    I talked to some family hunters about this.  The reaction was "well, ya just gotta cook it a lot"

    Well, no, actually, if I remember what I read from Mad Cow days "prions" which are the source of the disease can survive the heat of a incinerator.   So, well done won't cut it.


    Not hearing anything... (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 09:17:25 PM EST
    here about CWD and haven't for years, but it sure looks like it hasn't gone anywhere. Not just deer but elk and moose too. DPW started mandutory testing last year.

    All the more reason we need more apex preditors around here - wolves would be nice, as would brown bears.


    I think the reason it's in the news again (none / 0) (#88)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 06:28:57 PM EST
    is finding monkeys can catch it from eating the meat

    Czub presented the results May 25 in a talk titled "CWD Transmission into non-human Primates" at the Prion 2017 conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Good thing we ain't got no monkeys... (none / 0) (#98)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 04:25:09 PM EST
    'round these here parts.

    /not my monkeys, not my circus?


    I'm very conflicted (none / 0) (#99)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 08:37:36 AM EST
    About animal testing in cases like this.

    The should have used millennials


    Republicans (none / 0) (#100)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 09:11:38 AM EST
    are already suffering from a prion disease, why not use them?

    hey now... (none / 0) (#101)
    by CST on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 09:32:02 AM EST
    We're not the ones who created this mess.

    One more (none / 0) (#41)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 05:02:27 PM EST
    New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, will not seek reelection, the 12-term congressman announced on Monday.

    Frelinghuysen is the eighth Republican committee chairman to forgo reelection in the House ahead of a midterm cycle that's building against the GOP. But Frelinghuysen, whose district grew increasingly competitive in 2016, only served one full year as appropriations chairman and was not term-limited in his position, unlike other retiring lawmakers.

    Frelinghuysen (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:16:58 AM EST
    That's a name that's been pretty historical in NJ for ever.

    Well, there you go. (none / 0) (#66)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 11:20:13 AM EST
    I wonder if there is any sort (none / 0) (#43)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 29, 2018 at 05:17:52 PM EST
    of deadline for them to retire? I mean all retirements have to be in by X date.

    SUPER BLOOD MOON 2018 (none / 0) (#80)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:31:56 PM EST
    Happening tomorrow morning.  Could the timing be more perfect?

    Super Blue Blood Moon 2018: When, Where and How to See It Wednesday

    Skywatchers are in for a rare treat tomorrow (Jan. 31): a Blue Moon, a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon all at the same time! It's the first total lunar eclipse since 2015 and the first Blue Moon Blood Moon visible from the U.S. since 1866! Here's our full guide, and latest stories, of this rare Super Blue Blood Moon lunar eclipse!

    In my part (middle) of the country (none / 0) (#85)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 05:46:37 PM EST
    It's about 6:15.  As the sun rises

    In the Philadelphia area, however (none / 0) (#89)
    by Peter G on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 08:01:40 PM EST
    we won't see the lunar eclipse ("blood moon") part, so it's just another supermoon. Yawn. ("Blue moon" is a fun fact, but not a viewing event.) Not worth getting up at 6 a.m. for, imho. This is for westerners, it seems.

    We are supposed to (none / 0) (#90)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jan 30, 2018 at 08:17:19 PM EST
    Be able to see it here.  I'm pretty far east.

    The local weather is all about it


    Trey Gowdy (none / 0) (#91)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 11:25:25 AM EST
    Announced that he is not running for re-election.
    Gee, Trey, you surely will be missed.  Not.

    The DOJ has (none / 0) (#93)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 12:22:28 PM EST
    dropped charges against Senator Bob Menedez (D. NJ).  The first criminal trial ended in a mistrial after the jury could not come to a unanimous decision.   The trial judge had previously weakened the case when several counts were thrown out.  

    In (none / 0) (#97)
    by FlJoe on Wed Jan 31, 2018 at 04:03:47 PM EST
    the bag for Hillary?  
    the FBI agent at the center of a Capitol Hill storm played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton's campaign just days before the 2016 election: the letter to Congress by then-FBI Director James Comey announcing the bureau was investigating newly discovered Clinton emails.

    Strzok, who co-wrote what appears to be the first draft that formed the basis of the letter Comey sent to Congress, also supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the emails were discovered on disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner's laptop, according to a source familiar with Strzok's thinking. The day after Strzok sent his draft to his colleagues, Comey released the letter to Congress, reigniting the email controversy in the final days of the campaign.

    ALTERED CARBON (none / 0) (#102)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 09:50:44 AM EST
    drops on NETFLIX tomorrow

    Altered Carbon" is packed with facsimiles: The main conceit of this slow-building but satisfying series is that people can download their consciousness into a series of bodies, or "sleeves," indefinitely. These extensions are only possible for individuals with sufficient funds, of course: Living forever, which involves growing or acquiring an array of sleeves, is for the very rich

    Variety (none / 0) (#103)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 09:56:04 AM EST
    Like "Electric Dreams," "Altered Carbon" is not perfect, but both are solid additions to the canon of science fiction on television. To see major TV platforms spending big money on TV series with shuttlecraft, flying police cruisers, multiple worlds and gorgeously inventive technology is heartening. Though "Altered Carbon" is dependent on a number of the genre's oldest conventions, the casual inclusivity of its cast (many women of color have prominent roles), and its ability to shift between worlds and memories becomes impressive over time. Kovacs may be unable to outrun his past, but the most promising aspects of this ambitious series look like the future.

    Been listening to (none / 0) (#120)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 04:23:02 PM EST
    THE ALIENIST all day.

    So good.

    Very interesting (none / 0) (#121)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 01, 2018 at 05:52:06 PM EST
    Subtle differences with the series story line.