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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Conservative writer and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan describes Trump perfectly.

Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer - The Washington Post


John Oliver - Anthony Scaramucci

A transgender candidate takes on Virginia’s ‘Minister of Private Parts’ - The Washington Post

"Traffic. Schools. Jobs. Getting to their jobs, so back to traffic.

That’s what Northern Virginia voters want to talk about when a transgender woman with a rainbow headscarf and slashing black eyeliner knocks on their door.

Which is weird. Because given all the legislation proposed in the Virginia General Assembly on these constituents’ behalf, you’d think the conversations would be nothing but bathrooms, abortions and sex when someone such as Danica Roem shows up.

Roem, 32, has made history, becoming the first openly transgender candidate to win a state primary in Virginia. Now the Democratic nominee is trying to unseat her polar opposite in the 13th District: 25-year incumbent Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William).

And she believes she can win exactly because she has little interest in talking about sex, body parts or gender identity — the meat and potatoes of Marshall’s public life.

In a rapidly developing part of the state that desperately needs a traffic czar, Marshall instead styles himself as Virginia’s self-appointed “Minister of Private Parts...”

A transgender candidate takes on Virginia’s ‘Minister of Private Parts’ - The Washington Post

What the ‘Government Schools’ Critics Really Mean - The New York Times

...But the attacks on “government schools” have a much older, darker heritage. They have their roots in American slavery, Jim Crow-era segregation, anti-Catholic sentiment and a particular form of Christian fundamentalism — and those roots are still visible today.

Before the Civil War, the South was largely free of public schools. That changed during Reconstruction, and when it did, a former Confederate Army chaplain and a leader of the Southern Presbyterian Church, Robert Lewis Dabney, was not happy about it. An avid defender of the biblical “righteousness” of slavery, Dabney railed against the new public schools. In the 1870s, he inveighed against the unrighteousness of taxing his “oppressed” white brethren to provide “pretended education to the brats of black paupers.” For Dabney, the root of the evil in “the Yankee theory of popular state education” was democratic government itself, which interfered with the liberty of the slaver South....

What the ‘Government Schools’ Critics Really Mean - The New York Times

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Health Secy. Price Maintains HHS Will Continue to 'Follow the Law' - NBC News

"Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers can offer plans with reduced deductibles for people with low incomes, but to offset the cost for the insurers, the federal government makes payments to these companies. Since the Trump administration took over, the government has been making these payments month-to-month, but some administration officials have indicated that the public shouldn't be optimistic that they will continue.

Asked specifically whether those payments will continue every month, Price declined to say, citing a court case on the subject.

"As you know and your viewers know, this is a case that's in court and the case is House v. Price," he said. "So I'm the defendant in that and therefore I can't talk about it."

In the early hours of Friday morning, the Senate failed to pass the GOP-proposed "skinny repeal" of Obamacare by a vote of 49-51. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., cast votes against the bill.

The dramatic middle-of-the-night news followed a week of votes on health care amendments after Republicans successfully gathered enough votes to proceed to a debate.

Price would not concede that Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are now dead after this week.

"I don't accept the premise because we don't have a healthcare system — we've got about five healthcare systems," he said, pointing to Medicare, Medicaid, employer-sponsored coverage, the VA, and the individual market.

As leaders in Congress wrestle over how to move forward and while their August recess looms, Price urged them to do what many lawmakers have avoided as they've returned home.

"What we want Congress to do is to go home and talk to their constituents," he said.

Play Full Collins: Uncertainty Leads to 'Destabilzation' of Insurance Markets Facebook Twitter Embed

 Full Collins: Uncertainty Leads to 'Destabilzation' of Insurance Markets 8:00

Collins, one of the Senate Republicans who was most vocal against the process, called out the Trump administration on Sunday for threatening to pull the payments to insurers, arguing that it's fostering even more unpredictability in the markets.

"I'm troubled by the uncertainty that has been created by the administration," she said on "Meet The Press."

"When it comes to the subsidies that are given to very low-income people to help them with their co-pays and their deductibles, I hear this described by some as an 'insurance company bailout.' That's not what it is. It is vital assistance to people who make between 100 [percent] and 250 percent of the poverty level and allows them to afford their out-of-pocket costs, and the uncertainty about whether that subsidy is going to continue from month to month is clearly contributing to the destabilization of the insurance markets."

Collins also conceded that despite her votes against the proposed legislation this week, there are still major problems with the Affordable Care Act to address.

"I do not accept the premise that we should not proceed to reform the law," she said. She urged Congress to hold hearings on health care, listen to both sides of the aisle, and produce a "series" of bills that are aimed at fixing the "very real flaws" in the law."

Health Secy. Price Maintains HHS Will Continue to 'Follow the Law' - NBC News

Trump’s lies and his war with the media The New York Times reports that Donald Trump told a falsehood every day for his first 40 days in office. Joy Reid and her panel discuss the social and political impact of this, and more. The New York Times reports that Donald Trump told a falsehood every day for his first 40 days in office. Joy Reid and her panel discuss the social and political impact of this, and more. The New York Times reports that Donald Trump told a falsehood every day for his first 40 days in office. Joy Reid and her panel discuss the social and political impact of this, and more. AM Joy on MSNBC



MSNBC BREAKING NEWS 7/30/17 Trump Warns Mueller, But Can Mueller Be Inti...

Video shows border officers' actions and inactions resulted in tragic 20...

The American President us an ignorant thug. U.S. police chiefs blast Trump for endorsing ‘police brutality’

"Police leaders across the country moved quickly to distance themselves from — or to outright condemn — President Trump’s statements about “roughing up” people who’ve been arrested.

The swift public denunciations came as departments are under intense pressure to stamp out brutality and excessive force that can erode the relationship between officers and the people they police — and cost police chiefs their jobs."

Donald Trump’s War on the 1960s To the president and his fans, the '60s undermined what was good and virtuous in America.

"Donald Trump and his supporters may be waging battles against the press, immigrants, voting rights, the environment, science, social welfare programs, Planned Parenthood and what they label political correctness and the deep state.

But to them these are mere skirmishes in a much larger conflict. The president has essentially declared an all-out war on the American 1960s.

What he and his followers hope to do is not necessarily turn back the clock to the 1950s, but rather restore a social order, value system and “real America” that they believe was hijacked by the liberal culture, politics, thought leaders and policy priorities that emerged from the ’60s.

Behind Legislative Collapse: An Angry Vow Fizzles for Lack of a Viable Plan

Behind Legislative Collapse: An Angry Vow Fizzles for Lack of a Viable Plan

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Kook, ‘the Mooch’ and the Loot - The New York Times

This is a week old but still pertinent in this cataclysmic and chaotic week in Washington.

"On Friday, a “president” with no political experience brought on a communications director with no communications experience.

Trump tapped Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street snake investment huckster, to be the new communications director, a move that caused Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who The New York Times reported “vehemently disagreed with the appointment,” to resign.

So, let me get this straight: Spicer was just fine with regularly walking out to that podium to spew and spin Trump’s lies, but hiring “the Mooch,” as Scaramucci is known, was the back-breaker? O.K., whatever, Sean.

This illustrates best what is wrong with this communications shop, and by extension, this administration: No one is concerned with the truth; they are only concerned with their own trajectories.

Nothing about this White House communications department was ever about communicating. On the contrary, it has always been about deception, concealment and equivocation. Informing the public was never the mission. Flattering Trump was the mission. But in the end, Trump will never be satisfied, because successful communications for him is to get people to buy his pack of lies, and that isn’t really working the way it once did.

Nothing will change with the arrival of the Mooch Communications Office because nothing has changed about the kook in the Oval Office. (Some may find that descriptor harsh, but I find no appellation too coarse to express my outrage over Trump’s character, behavior and agenda. If anything, no word feels grave enough to properly express it.)

Trump is suffering horrendous approval ratings, an impotent legislative agenda and his irrepressible impulse to shove his foot in his mouth. There is no real way to better package this disaster.

For that reason, I found this shake-up far less interesting than the developments last week about the inexorably advancing Russia investigation.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not interested in palace intrigue; I’m interested in the increasing possibility of prison and maybe even impeachment.

Think about all that happened last week: Donald Trump Jr. and the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were invited to testify in open session before the Senate Judiciary Committee about that shady meeting they had in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer. And Trump gave an astoundingly bizarre interview to The New York Times in which he publicly slammed his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and drew a “red line,” warning that Mueller should not investigate the Trump family’s business dealings.

Reuters reported: “The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s F.S.B. security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show.”

The Times also reported: “Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly.”

The Times report continued: “Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.”

Not only did NBC report that “Marc Kasowitz is no longer leading the president’s group of private lawyers,” Politico reported that Mark Corallo, spokesman for the Trump legal team, resigned because he “was concerned about whether he was being told the truth about various matters.”

If people on Trump’s legal payroll are worried that they aren’t being told the truth, how worried should the rest of us be? Very, I would venture.

Then there was the Washington Post report: “Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut” Mueller’s Russia investigation, “building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.”

The Post continued: “Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people.”

I understand the press giving a lot of attention to the drama of changing press people, but that doesn’t even register against the import of what’s happening on the Russia investigation front.

All those things that have never made sense — Trump’s warm-and-fuzzies for Vladimir Putin, the mass amnesia about meetings with Russians by people connected to the Trump campaign, Trump’s prickly protectiveness about releasing financial details and documents, including his tax returns — must be made to make sense.

Mueller will not be threatened, the investigation will not be closed or constricted and the truth will be known. Incriminating personal communications are often hard to find, but financial records are often also kept by third parties and tell their own story.

As they say, follow the money.

The Kook, ‘the Mooch’ and the Loot - The New York Times

Why Obamacare Is Still in Peril - The New York Times

"In a dramatic last-minute spectacle, the latest Republican plan to destroy the Affordable Care Act was defeated early Friday because of the courageous votes of three senators: Susan Collins, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski. This will come as an immense relief to millions of Americans who stood to lose their health insurance, but it would be naïve to think that this is the end of the road for the repeal-Obamacare movement.

For the last seven years, Republican leaders have engaged in a fraudulent campaign against the A.C.A. based on the lie that the law is either unworkable or collapsing. The law, which is based on conservative market-based ideas, is certainly flawed and could be improved, but it has helped 20 million people gain insurance and, as a result, provided needed medical care to the poor and the sick. Not only was the Republican diagnosis wrong, but also leaders like the House speaker, Paul Ryan, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, tried to push through legislation that was devoid of any ideas and would have weakened the health care system and left millions unable to afford health care. One telling sign: Insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and public interest groups like AARP opposed pretty much every proposal the Republicans put out over the last seven months.

Ultimately, this deceitful campaign ran aground by the narrowest of margins in the Senate thanks to the three Republicans and all 48 Democrats and independents. Much attention has rightly focused on Mr. McCain. Returning to the Senate after surgery and a brain cancer diagnosis, he delivered a stirring speech on Tuesday calling on lawmakers from both parties to reach “agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people.” He seemed to go against those sentiments early in the process when he voted to start debate. But, when it really counted, Mr. McCain did the right thing. An equal or larger amount of credit ought to go to Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski, who stood firm despite immense political pressure and, in Ms. Murkowski’s case, shameful threats by the Trump administration.

By contrast, senators like Shelley Moore Capito, Dean Heller and Rob Portman who had made a big show of protecting their constituents readily gave in to party leaders. They allowed the Senate to come within one vote of passing a bill that would have left 16 million more people uninsured and driven up insurance premiums by about 20 percent a year.

Though one threat has been put off, the A.C.A. is far from safe. President Trump and his health and human services secretary, Tom Price, have made it their mission to undermine the law. On Friday, the president again threatened to let Obamacare “implode” in order to make a deal. And Mr. Price, who worked closely with his former colleagues in Congress to devise repeal proposals, has been spreading lies about the law and making changes that would reduce benefits and lead to fewer people signing up for coverage.

It would be foolish to underestimate the administration, which has the power to do substantial damage. The administration could stop making subsidy payments to insurance companies authorized by the A.C.A. to help reduce deductibles for lower-income people. And it could stop enforcing the penalty for people who do not buy insurance, which would result in fewer young and healthy people signing up, leading insurers to stop offering policies in some parts of the country.

Or the administration could decide to work with Congress and state governments to improve the law. Congress could strengthen the insurance market by voting to make the subsidy payments, which it never explicitly did. The 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid could reconsider and help four million more people gain health insurance. And the administration and state governments could enact reinsurance programs and other policies to lower the risk to insurers and encourage them to sell coverage in rural and suburban areas.

After this failure, Republicans must figure out whose example they will follow. They can adopt Mr. Trump’s call for yet another scorched-earth campaign. Or they can listen to the likes of Mr. McCain about the benefits of bipartisanship and cooperation"

Why Obamacare Is Still in Peril - The New York Times

Friday, July 28, 2017

The worst is yet to come - "The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. It is an affliction, one that saps the life out of our democratic institutions, and it must be fiercely resisted if the nation as we know it is to survive." The Washington Post


 "The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. It is an affliction, one that saps the life out of our democratic institutions, and it must be fiercely resisted if the nation as we know it is to survive."

(Via.).The worst is yet to come - The Washington Post:

Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation


Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation: ""

Boy Scouts Chief Apologizes For 'Political Rhetoric' In Donald Trump's Jamboree Speech : The Two-Way : NPR


Boy Scouts Chief Apologizes For 'Political Rhetoric' In Donald Trump's Jamboree Speech : The Two-Way : NPR: ""

President Donald Trump's 'Bad Policy' Made For A Political Reason. The Morning Joe panel discusses President Trump's announcement via Twitter on Wednesday a fresh ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. | Morn...

Don't Underestimate Donald Trump's Raw Power, Says Legal Scholar | Morni...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Stephen Makes A Change To Trump's 'Trans Ban' Tweet

U.S. House leader says willing to do conference committee on healthcare

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks into the Senate chamber for a healthcare vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017.

"With the Senate digging in for what could be a rare all-night session to debate amendments to a Republican healthcare plan that would roll back parts of the seven-year-old Affordable Care Act, Republican senators challenged their leaders and expressed frustration with the entire process.

“I’d rather get of out of the way and have it collapse, than have a half-assed approach where it is now our problem,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Graham was referring to a so-called skinny Republican healthcare bill that would repeal a few portions of the Obamacare healthcare law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act."

U.S. House leader says willing to do conference committee on healthcare

Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation

"David Cole, legal director of the ACLU and The Nation’s legal-affairs correspondent, argues that Trump would only be talking about pardoning himself if he was desperate—because he knows what the special counsel is likely to find—and is thus willing to pay a tremendous political price to avoid impeachment."

Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation

Charles Blow hits another homerun in describing America's neo fascist President ‘First They Came For ...’ - The New York Times

Charles Blow hits another homerun in describing America's neo fascist President

"It is no longer sufficient to brand Donald Trump as abnormal, a designation that is surely applicable but that falls significantly short in registering the magnitude of the menace.

The standard nomenclature of normal politics must be abandoned. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an assault on the fundamentals of the country itself: on our legacy institutions and our sense of protocol, decency and honesty.

In any other circumstance, we might likely write this off as the trite protestations of a man trapped in a toddler’s temperament, full of meltdowns, magical thinking and make believe. But this man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant.

This threat Trump poses — to our morals, ethics, norms and collective sense of propriety — may be without equal from a domestic source.

Everything he is doing is an assault and matters on some level.

His desecration of the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree matters. Not only did he turn his appearance before the boys into a political rally in which they booed both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he seemed to be appealing to their basest instincts.

What exactly did Trump mean when he regaled the boys with the story of the real-estate developer William Levitt, who, as Trump put it:

“Sold his company for a tremendous amount of money. And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts so I’m not going to tell you what he did.”

As the boys start to make noise, Trump responds, “Should I tell you? Should I tell you?” and then proceeds to say:

“You’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.”

Is this a version of Trump’s “locker room talk,” that phrase he used to excuse his genital-grabbing comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape? This may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme, but it matters. The fact that its shelf life felt like only a few hours before the next outrage underscores the degree to which our national consciousness is being barraged by the man’s violations.

But yes, it matters too, just as Trump’s obsession with Obama and Clinton matters.

Also, his public trolling of Attorney General Jeff Sessions matters. The fact that he’s enraged at Sessions for taking the appropriate ethical step and recusing himself from the Russia investigation matters. The fact that Trump essentially told The New York Times on the record that he would not have chosen Sessions if he’d known Sessions wouldn’t have stood firm in protection of him, matters.

Trump’s continuous attacks on the media matter.

His pushing of the Republicans’ callous Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan — a plan that would strip health insurance coverage from tens of millions of Americans, and a plan that Trump has demonstrated no particular policy knowledge of — matters.

Trump’s tweet yesterday — on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman desegregating the armed forces, no less — that “the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” matters. There are thousands of trans people already serving in the military. The idea that a man with five draft deferments would dictate that people who volunteer to serve should not be allowed to is beyond outrageous — and it matters.

Trump’s pushing us closer to international military conflict matters.

And yes, the plodding Russia investigation, which to Trump is an agitation and threat, like an irremovable thorn in his flesh, matters.

This has come as a great shock and demoralizer to many Americans, not necessarily because they didn’t think Trump was capable of such depravity, but because they simply were unprepared for the daily reality of living a nightmare.

There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.

In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.

President Andrew Jackson’s atrocious American Indian removal program gave us the powerful Cherokee memorial letters. The standoff at Standing Rock gave us what the BBC called “the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years.”

Crackdowns on gay bars gave us the Stonewall uprising. America’s inept response to the AIDS epidemic gave us Act Up and Larry Kramer. California’s Proposition 8 breathed new life into the fight for marriage equality and led to a victory in the Supreme Court.

The racial terror that followed the Emancipation Proclamation gave us the anti-lynching movement, the N.A.A.C.P., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and James Weldon Johnson.

Jim Crow gave us the civil rights movement, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer and James Baldwin.

The latest rash of extrajudicial killing of black people gave us Black Lives Matter.

The financial crisis and the government’s completely inadequate response to it gave us Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent.

A renewed assault on women’s rights, particularly a woman’s right to choose, gave us, at least in part, the Women’s March, likely the largest march in American history.

This is not an exhaustive list, but just some notable examples.

It is a way of illustrating that the fiery crucible is where the weapons of resistance are forged; it is where the mettle of those crusading for justice, equality and progress are tested.

Unlike the examples listed above, Trump’s assault is intersectional and nearly universal. Multiple populations are being assaulted at once, across race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity.

So, in this moment of regression, all the targets of Trump’s ire must push back with a united front, before it is too late.

As Martin Niemöller so famously put it:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me."

‘First They Came For ...’ - The New York Times

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The GOP Fails to Repeal Obamacare (Again) & Trump Targets Trans Soldiers...

Health Care Vote: Senate Rejects Repeal Without Replace - The New York Times

"  The  Senate  on  Wednesday  afternoon  rejected  a  proposal  to  repeal major  parts  of  the  Affordable  Care  Act  without  providing  a replacement.  Follow  the  live  vote  tracker  to  see  how  each  senator voted. •  President  Trump  lashed  out  Wednesday  morning  at  Senator  Lisa Murkowski  of  Alaska,  one  of  two  Republicans  who  voted  on  Tuesday against  beginning  debate  on  repealing  the  health  law. •  Blue  Cross  Blue  Shield  warns  senators  against  repealing  the mandate  that  almost  everyone  have  insurance  without  something  to take  its  place..."

Health Care Vote: Senate Rejects Repeal Without Replace - The New York Times

Dumb bigot Donald Trump says US military will not allow transgender people to serve

Decision marks a reversal of a policy initiated under Obama in 2016

Nancy Pelosi: ‘This is a dark day for thousands of heroes in our military’

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why Mueller may have the ability to indict Trump | MSNBC

Why Mueller may have the ability to indict Trump | MSNBC

Does Jared Kushner’s statement offer clarity? | MSNBC

Does Jared Kushner’s statement offer clarity? | MSNBC

Trump labels Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘beleaguered’

President Trump greeted Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office on Feb. 9.

LOL“So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” the president tweeted from his personal Twitter account on Monday morning.

Subscribe to the Post's Must Reads newsletter: Compelling stories you can't afford to miss

Over the past week, Trump has been attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions over of his decision months ago to recuse himself from the investigations into possible connections between Trump's campaign and Russia. Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, supported Trump from the early days of his candidacy and became a trusted adviser. Ten days after the election, Trump nominated Sessions for attorney general and said in a statement that “Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”

Trump labels Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘beleaguered’

Pardon me? Legal experts doubt Trump could absolve himself in Russia inquiry | US news | The Guardian


"An apropos-of-nothing assertion by Donald Trump on Twitter on Saturday morning, that ‘all agree the US president has the complete power to pardon’, raised interesting questions: How broad is the president’s pardoning power, and does it extend to self-pardons?

As the Russia scandal deepens, with Congress preparing to interview Donald Trump Jr and special counsel Robert Mueller accessing the president’s tax returns, Trump has been seeking legal advice on the question of self-pardons, the Washington Post reported on Friday morning.

Notwithstanding Trump’s assertion that ‘all agree’ on the matter, legal experts say it is unclear if the president can self-pardon. The constitution does not weigh in explicitly on the issue and there is no direct precedent. No president has ever attempted to self-pardon.

Trump attacks Post over report Sessions discussed campaign with ambassador Read more Richard Nixon looked into it when he stood accused of obstruction of justice and abuse of power in the Watergate scandal. His personal lawyer told him he could do it but the justice department said he could not, said Brian C Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University whose recent book, Constitutional Cliffhangers, devotes a chapter to the issue of self-pardons."

Pardon me? Legal experts doubt Trump could absolve himself in Russia inquiry | US news | The Guardian:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why does the Trump administration have no qualms about lying to the American people?

Why America Can’t Quit O.J. Simpson

"As a nation, we can’t stop watching and talking about O.J. Simpson. His parole hearing this week was shown on all four major broadcast networks and several cable outlets. Over 13 million people tuned in. A few weeks ago, JAY-Z released a music video for “The Story Of O.J.,” the second single off his acclaimed new album 4:44. It’s a heady song about the impossibility of transcending race. Last year, a TV series about Simpson’s 1995 murder trial won several Emmys and a documentary about his entire life was awarded an Oscar. Decades after his trial and the height of his fame, we still remain hopelessly obsessed with Simpson—a man who’s been famous for half a century, ever since he was a football star at USC in the ‘60s; a man famous enough that his place in society could change from athlete to pitchman to Hollywood actor to what he is now: a perceived murderer. A pariah.

But now that he’s been granted parole, we can be certain that the story of O.J. will only continue to grow.

He is America’s cultural Rorschach test because there are so many different ways to see him; our country’s endless obsession in part because he symbolizes so much: the racial divide in America, the lionization of sports heroes, the scourge of domestic violence, the power of celebrity to impact the justice system, and so much more.

Allow me to go a bit deeper on a few.

While Simpson stands for so much more than race, we must admit that it remains at the core of his story. JAY-Z uses Simpson as the poster boy for the attempt to transcend race, positing him as a race traitor who tried to escape the strictures of racism by being so well-liked and non-threatening that white people saw him as the exception (“I’m not black, I’m O.J.” was his attitude). There is no transcending race. Period. The awareness of race is burned deep into our consciousness, so much so that our bias functions at a subconscious level. (Also, the notion of “transcending race” is always applied to Blacks. Do you ever hear about white people who are transcending their race?) And so many view Simpson’s stunning fall from grace as a consequence of his foolish attempt to transcend race, as if all of this is karmic retribution of some sort.

Payback is a recurring theme when it comes to Simpson—and what he symbolizes. For some, he is the embodiment of payback within the American justice system, perhaps even from two directions. For many Black people, his 1995 acquittal represented payback against a system that’s been unjust to generations of Black Americans. From Dred Scott to the Scottsboro Boys to Emmett Till to Rodney King to Trayvon Martin, the U.S. criminal justice system has often been a place where Black people struggled to find justice. Simpson represented one instance where this iniquitous system benefited the Black man.

The second form of judicial payback stems from his 2008 conviction on charges of robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy, and assault with a deadly weapon—and his sentence of 33 years in prison (with parole in 9). Simpson was now seen as a symbol of overpunishment and how you can’t outrun the justice system. His lengthy sentence was widely perceived as forcing him to serve time for allegedly killing Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. He received an extremely excessive sentence for a first-time offender without a criminal record. O.J. may not be a sympathetic figure but this is a frightening prospect for the public at large: Whether or not you think O.J. is guilty, do we really want a justice system where, if the government fails to convict you of a crime in court, it can apply a massive penalty later? One can believe that Simpson was the killer and that the state did not have enough evidence to convict him. Those are not conflicting concepts. The concept of double jeopardy is crucial to the American justice system but it seems like the rules may have been bent with Simpson because there was so much residual anger toward him.

That anger is deep-seated. Simpson is seen, in the eyes of most, as a murderer who got away. The state failed to make its case in the 1995 trial but in the court of public opinion, Simpson was convicted. You don’t even hear O.J. talking about finding the real killers. To many he’ll always be persona non grata. And worse, if you do think he killed them, the brutal violence he used came as a shock."

Why America Can’t Quit O.J. Simpson

Neil de Grasse Tyson on the afterlife. Very moving.

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Why I am Agnostic

The Bogus Voter-Fraud Commission - The New York Times

"The truth can’t be repeated often enough: The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which held its first meeting last week, is a sham and a scam.

It was born out of a marriage of convenience between conservative anti-voter-fraud crusaders, who refuse to accept actual data, and a president who refuses to accept that he lost the popular vote fair and square.

It is run by some of the nation’s most determined vote suppressors, the kind who try to throw out voter registrations for being printed on insufficiently thick paper or who release reports on noncitizen voting that are titled “Alien Invasion” and illustrated with images of U.F.O.s.

Its purpose is not to restore integrity to elections but to undermine the public’s confidence enough to push through policies and practices that make registration and voting harder, if not impossible, for certain groups of people who tend to vote Democratic.

Its first, shaky steps have already created chaos. At least seven lawsuits have been filed against it; dozens of states have rejected some or all of its bumbling, and possibly illegal, request for voter data; and thousands of voters have dropped their names from state rolls, with most telling officials that they didn’t trust the commission or were upset to find out how much of their personal information was public.

In short, the commission is a fraud on the American people, and a far greater threat to electoral integrity than whatever wrongdoing it may claim to dig up.

At the meeting last week, the commissioners lived down to expectations, repeating their stale and baseless claims about hordes of noncitizens, former felons, dead people and other ineligible voters storming polling stations.

President Trump himself dropped by to introduce the proceedings and attack the state officials who have refused to turn over voter data. “If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Mr. Trump said. That’s pretty rich coming from a man who refuses to release his tax returns. It’s also specious. The data on fraud allegations have, in fact, been analyzed for years, and have confirmed time and again what election officials from both parties report from firsthand experience: Voter fraud is extremely rare, and in-person fraud — the only kind that can be caught by those voter-ID laws — is essentially nonexistent."

The Bogus Voter-Fraud Commission - The New York Times

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic


"...A review of the public record reveals a clear and disturbing pattern: Trump owes much of his business success, and by extension his presidency, to a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia. Over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money. Some ran a worldwide high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower—in a unit directly below one owned by Trump. Others provided Trump with lucrative branding deals that required no investment on his part. Taken together, the flow of money from Russia provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics. “They saved his bacon,” says Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration who investigated ties between organized crime and Trump’s developments in the 1980s.


It’s entirely possible that Trump was never more than a convenient patsy for Russian oligarchs and mobsters, with his casinos and condos providing easy pass-throughs for their illicit riches. At the very least, with his constant need for new infusions of cash and his well-documented troubles with creditors, Trump made an easy “mark” for anyone looking to launder money. But whatever his knowledge about the source of his wealth, the public record makes clear that Trump built his business empire in no small part with a lot of dirty money from a lot of dirty Russians—including the dirtiest and most feared of them all..."

Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic: ""

MSNBC BREAKING NEWS 7/22/17 Report: Russian Mob Money Helped Build Donal...

Friday, July 21, 2017

CNN hosts flabbergasted by Trump’s inability to speak coherent English i...

Washington Post: Trump Seeks Advice On Pardoning Himself, Family Members...

Indivisible National Day of Action - July 18, 2017

President Trump Casually Makes Another Damning Admission: The Daily Show

Lawyer who met with Trump Jr. had Russian intelligence connections - The Washington Post

"Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Moscow lawyer with powerful government contacts, represented a military unit founded by the Federal Security Service in court cases in 2011 and 2012, court rulings seen by The Washington Post show.

In those cases, Veselnitskaya represented Military Unit 55002 in a dispute over a five-story office building in northwest Moscow where a number of electronics companies were based. It was not immediately clear what the spy agency, known as the FSB, used the building for. But the state-run company that now occupies the property provides electronic components for Russian tech companies.

The news was first reported on Friday by Reuters, which said it had seen documents showing Veselnitskaya’s role in the legal tussle began as early as 2005 and lasted until 2013.

According to legal records, Military Unit 55002 was founded by the FSB, and it is located next to the Lubyanka, the headquarters of the Soviet Union’s secret police and intelligence agency for decades. The military unit works on procurement for the FSB, which directs Russia’s counterintelligence and border security agencies.

There is no information suggesting that Veselnitskaya is herself an intelligence agent or an employee of the Russian government. But the new information adds to the intrigue surrounding the June 2016 encounter, in which Donald Trump Jr. met with what he was told was a “Russian government attorney” who could offer damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin ordered a campaign of cyberattacks and propaganda aimed at undermining the American presidential election and discrediting Clinton. A special counsel is investigating possible coordination between Trump’s associates and Russian officials during the campaign. President Trump has denied that his campaign received assistance from Russia.

Veselnitskaya could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

The court rulings are the first legal evidence to emerge of a relationship between Veselnitskaya and the Russian intelligence establishment. Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who accompanied her to the meeting at Trump Tower, has also reportedly told friends that he was a former counterintelligence officer. He has told journalists that that is untrue."

Lawyer who met with Trump Jr. had Russian intelligence connections - The Washington Post

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Trump Turns on Sessions Amid Russia Probe: A Closer Look

CBO: New health care bill would leave 32 million uninsured The president threatens and cajoles Republican senators as the CBO says the new, repeal-only plan will leave 32 million people uninsured and double premiums. - All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

Senators to Trump: take a 'moral' stand on immigrants | US news | The Guardian

"A top Republican senator has challenged Donald Trump to make “a moral decision” on the fate of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, part of a revamped bipartisan push to grant permanent residency to so-called Dreamers.

“The moment of reckoning is coming,” South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham warned the president and his Republican colleagues at a press conference Thursday to unveil a new iteration of legislation known as the Dream Act.

Graham was joined by Illinois senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic cosponsor of the bill who first introduced legislation of the same name 16 years ago. Their proposal, which mirrors previous legislation that failed to pass Congress multiple times, would grant legal status and a path to citizenship to Dreamers if they were longtime residents of the US.

In a sign of tough odds facing the bill, the White House swiftly rejected the notion that the president would support such a measure.

“The administration has opposed the Dream Act and we are likely to be consistent in that,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, in an off-camera briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

Graham acknowledged the president’s candidacy was rooted in a hardline approach to immigration but cast the debate as an existential question for the party that now controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.

“President Trump, you’re going to have to make a decision,” Graham said. “The campaign is over.”

Senators to Trump: take a 'moral' stand on immigrants | US news | The Guardian

Somalis in Minneapolis Shocked and Saddened by Police Shooting - The New York Times


 "A day before the shooting, a lawsuit accusing Officer Noor and two of his colleagues of misconduct was filed in federal court. The lawsuit, filed by a woman who said the police had illegally taken her into custody for a mental health checkup in May, said Officer Noor had taken her phone from her hand ‘and then grabbed her right wrist and upper arm, thereby immobilizing her.’

Jordan S. Kushner, a lawyer for the woman, said Officer Noor ‘was a participant in what we consider a real egregious and dramatic violation of her rights.’ He noted that his client had initially called the police for help that day, just as the woman Officer Noor shot on Saturday did."

(Via.   )Somalis in Minneapolis Shocked and Saddened by Police Shooting - The New York Times:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

People in Denmark Are Much Happier Than People in the United States. Her...

The Republican Health-Care Meltdown | The New Yorker


"If the Republican Party’s crusade to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is truly over, Monday night provided a fittingly sudden and chaotic ending. Early in the evening, two conservative Republican senators—Mike Lee, of Utah, and Jerry Moran, of Kansas—issued statements saying that they wouldn’t support the revised health-care-reform bill that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, released last Thursday. Since the Republicans have a majority of just two in the Senate, and two other Republicans—Susan Collins, of Maine, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky—had already announced that they wouldn’t vote for the legislation, the effort to secure its passage looked lost.
For several hours after Lee and Moran’s announcements, McConnell issued no public response. Then, around 11 P.M., he released a statement that said, “Regretfully, it’s now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.”
But McConnell didn’t leave it at that. Instead, he said that the Senate Republicans would now move to vote on repealing the A.C.A. immediately and dealing with the consequences later. Since those consequences would include causing turmoil in the private markets and reversing the Medicaid expansion that has provided health-insurance coverage to about fourteen million Americans, it seems very unlikely that McConnell will be able to get fifty votes to pass such an irresponsible piece of legislation.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether McConnell really believes such a reckless strategy is feasible, or whether he was simply looking to save face. President Trump, however, supports pursuing repeal without replacement. On Monday night, he tweeted, “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” That final sentence was almost certainly wishful thinking. And the entire statement was consistent with the lack of gravity, inattention to detail, and political gamesmanship that has characterized the Republican effort to undo Obamacare since the beginning.
The larger lesson of this sorry episode is that nobody—not McConnell, or Trump, or House Speaker Paul Ryan—can resolve the contradictions of today’s Republican Party. Once the political arm of the Rotary Club and the affluent suburbs, the Party is increasingly one of middle-class and working-class voters, many of whom are big beneficiaries of federal programs, such as Medicaid and the Obamacare subsidies for the purchase of private insurance. But the G.O.P. remains beholden to its richest, most conservative donors, many of whom espouse a doctrine of rolling back the government and cutting taxes, especially taxes applicable to themselves and other very rich people. It was the donors and ideologues, with Ryan as their front man, who led the assault on the Affordable Care Act.
These efforts had put several senators in a difficult place. Moran, who was first elected in 2010 and has a solidly conservative voting record, found himself being forced to defend a set of reforms to Medicaid that meant potentially closing many rural hospitals and taking health-care coverage away from more than a hundred thousand of his fellow-Kansans, according to the Urban Institute. Although Moran cast his decision not to support the revised bill in terms of needing more time for consultations and legislative deliberations, it was clear that he was feeling the political pressure.
In their statements on Monday night, both Moran and Lee said that the revised bill didn’t go far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act and reducing premiums. This, despite the fact that the measure contained an amendment—modelled on a proposal by Lee—that would have allowed insurers to offer cheap, catastrophic care policies outside the Obamacare insurance exchanges, so long as they also offered a comprehensive option through the exchanges. In recent days, insurers warned that the amendment was completely unworkable and could lead to the collapse of the exchanges. How much further does Lee want to go? In his statement, he also referred to the bill’s failure to abolish all the taxes that the A.C.A. introduced—taxes that only hit the donor class. In other words, the bill didn’t do enough for the wealthy.
Moran, for his part, said, “We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.” But in order to enable people with preëxisting conditions or modest incomes to obtain health coverage at a reasonable cost, you have to restrict the choices of others. The young and the healthy have to be persuaded, or forced, to join the same risk pools as older and sicker people. Insurers have to be prevented from creaming off low-risk customers into separate markets. Rich people have to be taxed to pay for Medicaid, or for the subsidies that enable working families on modest incomes to buy private insurance. As Milton Friedman noted long ago, there is no free lunch.
Obamacare, for all its complexity and teething problems, was, and is, a serious and comprehensive effort to face up to these difficulties and trade-offs. The Republicans never got serious about how to replace it. They are now paying the price."

The Republican Health-Care Meltdown | The New Yorker

NY Subpoenas Records On Huge Manafort Loans From Small Bank: WSJ | Rache...

‘Plan C’ on Obamacare, Repeal Now, Replace Later, Has Collapsed - The New York Times

 "WASHINGTON — With their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in tatters, Senate leaders on Tuesday pushed to vote on a different measure that would repeal major parts of President Barack Obama’s health law without a replacement — but that plan appeared also to collapse.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska immediately declared they could not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum.

“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Ms. Capito said in a statement. “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio hinted strongly that he too would oppose it.

The collapse of the Senate Republican health bill — and the failing struggle to find yet another alternative —highlighted a harsh reality for Senate Republicans: While Republican senators freely assailed the health law while Mr. Obama occupied the White House, they have so far not been able to come up with a workable plan to unwind it that would keep both moderate Republicans and conservatives on board."

‘Plan C’ on Obamacare, Repeal Now, Replace Later, Has Collapsed - The New York Times

Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified - The Washington Post

"An American-based employee of a Russian real estate company took part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., bringing to eight the number of known participants at the session that has emerged a key focus of the investigation of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian.

Ike Kaveladze’s presence was confirmed by Scott Balber, an attorney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Balber said Kaveladze works for the Agalarovs’ company and attended as their representative."

Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified - The Washington Post

Joe: This is doubly humiliating for Trump today | MSNBC

Joe: This is doubly humiliating for Trump today | MSNBC

Jeff Sessions wants police to take more cash from American citizens

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property.

“We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture — especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks for a speech to the National District Attorney's Association in Minneapolis. "With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners."

Asset forfeiture is a disputed practice that allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently."

Jeff Sessions wants police to take more cash from American citizens

Donald Trump Jr: New Revelations Come To Light In Meeting | Morning Joe ...

This country deserves much better than Trump - The Washington Post

"It’s exhausting, I know, but don’t let outrage fatigue numb you to the moral bankruptcy and gross incompetence of the Trump administration. This ugly departure from American norms and values must be opposed with sustained passion — and with the knowledge that things will probably get worse before they get better.

Heaven help us, look where we are. We have a president — commander in chief of the armed forces, ostensibly the leader of the free world — whose every word is suspect. President Trump is an inveterate liar. He dismisses provable facts as “fake news” and invents faux facts of his own that bear no relationship to the truth. He simply cannot be trusted.

We have a president whose North Star is naked self-interest, not the good of the country. Trump cares about his family, his company and little else. He dishonors the high office he holds, then reportedly spends hours each day railing against cable-news coverage that he finds insufficiently respectful. His ego is a kind of psychic black hole that devours all who come into its orbit.

We have a president whose eldest son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with emissaries purportedly sent by the Russian government to deliver dirt on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump claimed on Twitter that “most politicians” would have gone to such a meeting, which is another lie. Try to find politicians who say they would have attended.

We have a president who fired the director of the FBI for continuing to investigate “this Russia thing” — a sophisticated effort by the Russian government, according to U.S. intelligence officials, to tip the election in Trump’s favor. Will he also try to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III? If he does, will Congress let him get away with it?

We have a president — was he made in Russia? — who has declared this to be “Made in America” week, despite the fact that so many of the retail products that bear his name or that of his daughter Ivanka are made in Mexico, China, Indonesia and Bangladesh. When asked about this irony by Politico, a White House spokeswoman responded, “We’ll get back to you on that.” They won’t.

Trump has broken his promise to help the struggling middle class. After pledging health insurance “for everybody,” he supported legislation that would strip more than 20 million people of coverage. His approval rating, according to a new Post-ABC News poll, has fallen to 36 percent — a historic low for a president at this point in his tenure. Yet Trump continues to enjoy strong support from self-identified Republicans, whose resentment against liberal “elites” he plays like a violin.

His administration is in shambles. Members of his inner circle snipe at one another via anonymous quotes to reporters. They compete for the president’s favor not by doing their jobs well but by showing a willingness to defend anything he says and does, no matter how ridiculous. In the space of a week, his surrogates went from “the campaign had no meetings with Russians” to “there was a meeting but no collusion” to “collusion is not actually a crime.” One wonders how they sleep at night.

Trump presents the world with something new: In place of American leadership, there is a vacuum. In keeping with the pattern set at the Group of 20 summit, adversaries will try to use Trump’s ignorance to their advantage while allies try to nudge him into doing the right thing. The “madman theory” of foreign relations can only be employed effectively by a leader who is actually steadfast and serious; Trump is neither.

There is no point in looking to Republicans for salvation. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still hope to get Trump to sign into law massive cuts in taxes and entitlements. Many rank-and-file members fear Trump’s loyal support among the base. The former “party of Lincoln” has adopted the moral code of the Oakland Raiders’ late owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby.”

So that is what Democrats and independents have to do — win. As long as there are pro-Trump majorities in the House and Senate, there will be no real congressional oversight and no brake on an out-of-control president’s excesses. Incumbency and gerrymandered districts mean that winning anti-Trump majorities in 2018 will be difficult. But not impossible.

The Democratic Party needs a plan, a message and a sense of urgency. Trump hopes to bully critics into submission, but the country is bigger than this one president. And much better."

This country deserves much better than Trump - The Washington Post

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’ - The New York Times

"A truly dumb and costly war.  An invasion that killed at least 125,000 civilians. "From  Day 1,  Iran  saw  something  else:  a  chance  to  make  a  client state  of  Iraq,  a  former  enemy  against  which  it  fought  a  war  in  the  1980s so  brutal,  with  chemical  weapons  and  trench  warfare,  that  historians look  to  World  War  I  for  analogies.  If  it  succeeded,  Iraq  would  never again  pose  a  threat,  and  it  could  serve  as  a  jumping-off  point  to  spread Iranian  influence  around  the  region. In  that  contest,  Iran  won,  and  the  United  States  lost."

Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’ - The New York Times

LOWER AND LOWER So This Is What American Greatness Really Looks Like?JOY-ANN REID


"This week, Garry Kasparov, former Russian chess champion and perennial critic of Vladimir Putin, tweeted about what autocrats do when caught: “1: Deny, lie, slander accusers. 2: Say it was a misunderstanding. 3. Boast & say ‘What are you going to do about it?’”

The day after that tweet, Donald Trump stood on a dais in Paris beside the French president and said of his son’s now-confirmed willingness to receive campaign help for his father from Russia: “I think it’s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.”

That would be jaw dropping and bizarre coming from a mob boss at his pretrial hearing, let alone from the president of the United States. But that line is now standard issue among much of Trump’s political party, which has come around to the notion that collusion with a foreign power—even an adversarial one like Russia—is no big deal."

Friday, July 14, 2017

The True Story of the Central Park Five and How Donald Trump Was Involved

"Long before Donald Trump was president or Twitter existed, the real-estate developer was already loudly interfering in public affairs. One of the most notable of these instances had life-altering consequences on a group of young men known as the Central Park Five. The story continues to resonate today; it was announced on July 6 that director Ava DuVernay is tackling the story for a Netflix miniseries. In light of the news, we're taking a look back at the true story of the divisive case and the role Trump played in the national news story.

The Case of the Central Park Jogger

On the night of April 20, 1989, Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old investment banker, was out jogging in New York's Central Park when she was savagely attacked, beaten, raped, and left for dead. She was found with such severe injuries that doctors doubted she would survive. Although Meili eventually recovered, she had no memory of the attack.

Five teenagers were arrested for the crime: Kharey Wise, 16, Antron McCray, 15, Kevin Richardson, 14, Raymond Santana, 14, and Yusef Salaam, 15. The victim was white, and the young men - who became known as the Central Park Five - were all either black or Latino. Each of them confessed to the crime after hours of aggressive interrogation, then later recanted their statements. They ultimately served between six and 13 years in prison each.

Exoneration of the Central Park Five

In 2002, a convicted serial rapist and murderer named Matias Reyes - who was already serving time in prison - confessed to having assaulted Meili. He said he acted alone, and DNA evidence supported his confession. The Central Park Five were exonerated and later sued the city over their wrongful conviction. They received a settlement of $40 million in 2014.

Donald Trump's Involvement at the Time

The horrific crime and ensuing trial drew nationwide attention. Donald Trump, who was already a well-known figure in NYC, repeatedly fanned the flames in an already tense, racially charged time. He paid $85,000 to take out a full-page ad in various newspapers, where he published an open letter calling for the return of the death penalty and expressing his hatred of the "roaming bands of wild criminals" in the city, whom he described as laughing at their victims. "And why do they laugh?" Trump wrote. "They laugh because they know that soon, very soon, they will be returned to the streets to rape and maim and kill once again – and yet face no great personal risk to themselves."

Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five, has expressed how frightened he was at the time over the fact that a prominent public figure like Trump was calling for his death. He believes that Trump's inflammatory letter was instrumental in turning public opinion against the young men, describing it as the "nail in the coffin."

Trump's More Recent Declarations

It is striking how little Trump's rhetoric around the case has changed over the years. Ever since he launched his presidential campaign in 2015 by referring to Mexicans as rapists and criminals, Trump has been painting a bleak, frightening picture of American society and has been fixated on the idea that America is under attack and being taken advantage of by outsiders, be they immigrants, Muslims, refugees, or our allies.

Even more shocking is the fact that Trump has continued to maintain that the Central Park Five were guilty. In 2014, upon learning that the men would be receiving a $40 million settlement, Trump again chose to publicly voice his opinion, penning a letter in the New York Daily News in which he called the settlement a "disgrace" and declared that the men did "not exactly have the past of angels." In reality, none of the teenagers in the group had ever been arrested before.

In October 2016, in a CNN interview, Trump again stated his conviction that the men were guilty, arguing that they had confessed to the crime and claiming that the evidence pointed to them, despite the DNA evidence that had exonerated the Central Park Five 14 years prior.

Although Trump has denied that his 1989 letter was racially charged, it's easy to see it as an early avatar of the racist subtext that has characterized so much of his brief political career. Trump's unshakable conviction of the Central Park Five's guilt reveals a mindset in which young men of color are guilty even when proven innocent. The crusade he led against these young men and his refusal to admit their innocence even today are stark reminders of Trump's underlying attitudes toward minorities."

The True Story of the Central Park Five and How Donald Trump Was Involved

Donald Trump Lawyer In Threatening Emails: 'Watch Your Back, B---h' | Th...

Trump Team Met Russian Accused of International Hacking Conspiracy



"Rinat Akhmetshin allegedly stole sensitive documents from a corporation years before he joined Natalia Veselnitskaya to meet Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner.

KEVIN POULSEN NICO HINES KATIE ZAVADSKI 07.14.17 10:49 AM ET The alleged former Soviet intelligence officer who attended the now-infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign officials last June was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy. Rinat Akhmetshin told the Associated Press on Friday he accompanied Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to the June 9, 2016, meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. Trump’s attorney confirmed Akhmetshin’s attendance in a statement. Akhmetshin’s presence at Trump Tower that day adds another layer of controversy to an episode that already provides the clearest indication of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. In an email in the run-up to that rendezvous, Donald Trump Jr. was promised ‘very high level and sensitive information’ on Hillary Clinton as ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.’ Akhmetshin, who had been hired by Veselnitskaya to help with pro-Russian lobbying efforts in Washington, said the Russian lawyer brought a folder of documents to the meeting, which he thinks she left at Trump Tower. He said the print-outs detailed an alleged flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National Committee. According to Akhmetshin, Trump Jr. asked whether the lawyer had all the evidence to back up her claims and Veselnitskaya said the Trump campaign would have to do further research themselves."

(Via.).  Trump Team Met Russian Accused of International Hacking Conspiracy:

'Disturbing Signs': Russia And Fake News Attacks | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Trump asks Russia to hack Hillary's emails

Why The Heck Does Jared Kushner Still Have Security Clearance?

Stephen Recreates Kellyanne Conway's 'Fun With Words'

True honor lies not with China’s rulers but with the man they imprisoned until his death - The Washington Post


"POLITICAL DISSIDENCE is a great, and beautiful, mystery. For those living under repressive rule, the path of least resistance is, well, not to resist — to accommodate and survive, or, in less honorable but hardly rare cases, to collaborate. And yet, some do choose the more decent and difficult way. Out of idealism, necessity, sheer refusal to submit or some unfathomable combination of all three, they stand up, they speak out, they assume risks.

China’s Liu Xiaobo epitomized the dissident tradition, fighting back relentlessly but peacefully against a regime in his country that epitomized modern-day authoritarianism — until he died of liver cancer on Thursday at age 61.

Mr. Liu was born in 1955, amid the horrific throes of the early People’s Republic, and went on to study literature and philosophy, earning his doctorate in 1988. Moved by the fall of communism in Europe and the limited opening under Deng Xiaoping in China, he joined the student protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989. This conscientious activism earned him a two-year prison sentence. Later he served three years in a labor camp for other purported political offenses. Mr. Liu’s causes were liberty and democracy, which he considered universally applicable, not Western imports for which his native country was somehow ‘not ready.’ His specific demand was that the Chinese Communist authorities accept the need for a constitutional overhaul that would establish elections, rule of law and freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of religion"

(Via.).  True honor lies not with China’s rulers but with the man they imprisoned until his death - The Washington Post:

The Cruelty and Fraudulence of Mitch McConnell’s Health Bill - The New York Times


"A few days ago the tweeter in chief demanded that Congress enact ‘a beautiful new HealthCare bill’ before it goes into recess. But now we’ve seen Mitch McConnell’s latest version of health ‘reform,’ and ‘beautiful’ is hardly the word for it. In fact, it’s surpassingly ugly, intellectually and morally. Previous iterations of Trumpcare were terrible, but this one is, incredibly, even worse.

Before I get to what makes it worse, let’s talk about the one piece of the new bill that may sound like a step in the right direction, and why it’s largely a scam.

The original Senate bill got a lot of justified bad press for slashing Medicaid while offering big tax cuts for the rich. So this version rolls back some though by no means all of those tax cuts, which sounds like a concession to moderates.

At the same time, however, the bill would allow people to use tax-favored health savings accounts to pay insurance premiums. This effectively creates a big new tax shelter that mostly helps people with high incomes who (a) can afford to put a lot of money into such accounts and (b) face high marginal tax rates, and hence get big tax savings.

Still, this tax shuffle does give McConnell a bit more money to play with. So how does he address the two big problems with the original bill — savage cuts to Medicaid and soaring premiums for older, less affluent workers? He doesn’t.

Aside from a few tweaks, those brutal Medicaid cuts are still part of the plan — and yes, they are cuts, despite desperate Republican attempts to pretend that they aren’t. The subsidy cuts that would send premiums soaring for millions are also still there…."


(Via.).  The Cruelty and Fraudulence of Mitch McConnell’s Health Bill - The New York Times:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Joy Reid: Trump can make Republicans accept anything Joy Reid and Lawrence Wright join Chris Hayes to discuss how the Republican Party has lowered the bar in the era of Trump. - All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

Charles M. Blow, Donald Trump’s corruption is a family affair. By CHARLES M. BLOW - The New York Times

"What befalls a country riven by a dynasty of deception and disrepute? What comes of a country being forced by its puerile “president” to retreat from its world leadership, set to a soundtrack of world mockery? What to make of an enterprise of corruption that Trump calls a family when they abandon any semblance of propriety and all things we once found appropriate?

The America that I know and love is hanging by a thread, and Trump’s scandalous camarilla is playing with the shears.

The latest shoe to drop is that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort (campaign chairman at the time) met last summer in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer because, according to emails released by Trump Jr., he was told that he would receive dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his father.

Trump Jr.’s response: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

This is clear evidence of collusion and pushing disturbingly close to the possibility of other crimes including treason, although not quite there yet, from what is publicly known at this point.

This may well be the clearest link so far between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but it is far from the first act of misconduct. The entire Trump political era has been an extended exercise in misconduct.

Trump is president by a combination of the most despicable factors: a Russian cyberattack, voter suppression, racial anxiety and rampant sexism. People will struggle to explain it in other terms, and some will do so with dazzling language that apes the tone and tenor of intellectualism, but at its base an explanation that ignores those factors is a lie. It is a lie that covers a cyst. It is a lie that shields a sickness. It is a lie that excuses the inexcusable.

Donald Trump is president because a multiethnic, forward-thinking coalition twice elected a black man president and in so doing sent pulsing waves of fear down the spine of the traditional power structure in America. Barack Obama represented a fast-approaching future in which whiteness is not synonymous with power, in which power is more widely shared.

Therein lies an inherent insecurity, if you held a legacy claim to security simply by accident of birth and a systematic oppression of people who would compete with you for that security.

Donald Trump is president because American sexism, misogyny and patriarchy know no bounds. All politicians have flaws; Clinton had flaws. I could fill this column enumerating them. But as Bernie Sanders was fond of saying during the campaign, “On her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.”

On Trump’s best day, he was worse than the other Republican candidates. And yet, he won the nomination, and that man — the worst of the worst — beat a woman who had more qualifications on the first page of her résumé than he could ever have achieved in his whole pathetic life.

And now that man and his spawn — born into nefariousness and groomed by nepotism — are waging an all-out war on the country he is supposed to lead.

Trump has attacked every traditional institution in this country, from the judiciary to the press. But possibly the most dangerous and destructive has been his assault on the truth itself.

After Trump Jr. hid the meeting with the Russian lawyer, then acknowledged it, then had a rolling list of lies about the purpose of it, then was forced to release emails about the meeting that proved not only him but the entire Trump camp to be liars, he gave an interview to the Trumps’ favorite state propaganda machine, Fox News. His father chimed in on Twitter:

“My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”

Everything in that tweet is not only a lie, but it is in diametrical opposition to the truth. But that is Trump’s tactic: Don’t shade the truth with a little lie; destroy the truth with an enormous lie. Consider the truth and then say the exact opposite is true. It is so disconcerting that it must be entertained and investigated because it is so foreign to honest people.

Trump Jr. wasn’t “open, transparent and innocent.” He is devious, knavish and guilty as sin.

I say that we must learn to discard as dishonest everything emanating from this White House. If it’s not a lie (and it often is), it’s a diversion.

Yes, listen to his speeches and read his tweets. Being an informed, engaged citizen demands that you remain aware of what the country’s so-called leader is thinking and doing.

But then shunt it aside. It’s all garbage and a waste of mental bandwidth. You only have to remember this: These people are not to be trusted. Their greatest interest is in their own enrichment. They believe that they exist in a space above the law and outside the rules.

Run everything that you hear from the White House through this filter: The “presidency” is a blasphemy and Trump is not only a disgrace but also an assault on the culture and the country.

And take comfort in this eternal truth: For all things, there comes an end.

Charles M. Blow - The New York Times