April 24, 2019

Presidential race update: McCain family goes for Biden

McCain Family Will Endorse Biden for President

O'Rourke says he supports voting rights for nonviolent felons

Booker: 'I will have a woman running mate'

Cory Booker releases 10 years of tax returns 

Sen. Kamala Harris Supports Third Gender Option On Federal IDs

Bernie Sanders: ‘Democratic Socialist’ Is Just a Synonym for New Deal Liberal

The Trump case

Deutsche Bank begins process of providing Trump financial records to New York's attorney general

White House 'blocking' officials from testifying  

Harvard Impeachment Expert: Trump Impeachable for Mueller Report

Former Trump Transition Official Calls For Impeachment: 'This Is Serious Stuff'

John Hopkins students protest armed police and ICE agreement

Trtruhout -Students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, have entered their [22nd] day of a sit-in occupation of their campus administration building to protest the university’s plans for an armed police force on campus, as well as Johns Hopkins’s contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Students at Johns Hopkins are demanding the cancellation of contracts with ICE and a pledge to donate all money received from ICE to Baltimore’s immigration defense fund. They’re also demanding voluntary recognition for all workers wishing to unionize, and a student and faculty representative spot on the university’s board of trustees.

Stupid Trump tricks

President Donald Trump was called out on social media for demanding that The New York Times kneel before him and “beg for forgiveness.”

Trump's Attempt to Cut Off Abortion Funding Blocked by Judge

Daily Beast -  The Trump administration's attempt to cut off government money from family planning clinics that offer abortions is set to be blocked by a federal judge in Oregon, according to local reports. Donald Trump’s so-called “Title X” rule, which was set to take effect across the country in May, would stop government funds for Planned Parenthood clinics that subsidize birth control for low-income women and other clinics that either provide abortions or refer women to abortion providers. But the Oregonian reported late Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane will grant a preliminary injunction against the restrictions which he called a “ham-fisted approach to public health policy.” Oregon is one of 20 states that challenged the new rules. The states wanted a national block, but Judge McShane said he’s reluctant to set “national health care” policy and would soon set out how wide-ranging his injunction will be in a formal written ruling.     

The GOP mind at work

At a 2014 Heartland Institute book discussion event in Chicago, Stephen Moore (underconseration for the Fed) said: “If you want to live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago? You don’t want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or these armpits of America like that. You want to live in Chicago.”

Dictator drift

Justice Department refuses to comply with congressional subpoena for testimony on citizenship question and 2020 Census

Trump: 'No reason' for White House to comply with congressional investigations

GOP's Obscene Power Grab Is Nearly Complete 

Baby bonds could reduce ethnic wealth disparity

Truthdig -Baby bonds are federally managed accounts set up at birth for children and endowed by the government with assets that will grow over time. Neither the child nor their parents would be able to access these funds until the child reaches adulthood, at which point they could use the money to get an education, purchase a home, or start a business.

One recent study shows a baby bond program has the potential to reduce the current black-white wealth divide more than tenfold. Another shows that had a baby bond program been initiated 40 years ago, the Latinx-white wealth divide would be closed by now — and the black-white wealth divide would have shrunk by 82 percent.

Word: A NY Times reporter takes on Trump

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Nicholas Kristof -In my 35 years at the @nytimes, I’ve covered lots of authoritarians around the world. Many have lashed out at me or The Times, although rarely using Stalinist language like this. I’ve been threatened with deportation, arrest, execution. But in the end we’ve outlasted them, and the latest such leader—the genocidal Omar Bashir of Sudan—was just ousted and imprisoned this month. Sure, we make mistakes. Of course we welcome criticism. But venomous denunciations of “enemies of the people” have no place in a democracy, and in my experience authoritarians who ride the back of a tiger end up inside. We are better than this.

April 23, 2019

Presidential race update

Moulton against Sanders proposal to let inmates vote, backs rights being restored after release

Joe Biden to enter 2020 presidential race with Thursday video announcement

Juli├ín Castro: Trump should be impeached

How to Rewatch CNN's Democratic Presidential Town Hall

Here’s where all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates stand on climate

Pete Buttigieg says Donald Trump deserves impeachment  

Pete Buttigieg Is The Only Top 2020 Democrat Taking Money From Washington Lobbyists

Kamala Harris vows executive action on gun control 

Pete Buttigieg blasts Bernie Sanders push to let criminals vote from prison

Kamala Harris Defends Anti-Truancy Efforts After Expressing Regret Parents Were Punished

Biden’s Deceitful Record on Iraq Invasion

Kamala Harris Believes Congress Should Move Forward On Impeaching Trump

Court Says Using Chalk On Tires For Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution

A bipartisan attack on Internet freedom

 No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

That's part of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that was passed in 1996, as part of a larger piece of legislation updating telecommunications regulations. Section 230 grants broad immunity to websites and internet service providers from legal actions such as being sued for libel and defamation. It's the reason why Reason can't be sued for libelous or defamatory content posted in our comments section (though the authors of such comments can be).

Section 230 is the law that has enabled the internet to become driven by user-generated content, from YouTube videos to Yelp reviews to basically all of Twitter. You get rid of Section 230 and all that—and much more—is toast. In its first decade, Section 230 was mostly celebrated for allowing free expression and new economic models, but these days it is under attack from conservative Republicans such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and from liberal Democrats such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, all of whom have expressed interest in ripping up Section 230 and regulating social media.

Brothers who staged Smollett attack sue actor's attorney

Guardian -Two brothers who say they helped Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack against himself filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Empire actor’s attorneys, alleging that they repeatedly asserted publicly that the brothers carried out a real, bigoted attack on Smollett despite knowing that was not true.

... The suit contends that even after police and prosecutors alleged that the 29 January attack in Chicago was staged and after all charges were dropped, controversially, against Smollett, Geragos and his firm continued to say publicly in widely reported statements that the brothers “led a criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack against Mr Smollett”, even though they knew that was not the case.

Stupid Trump tricks

Trump tells officials not to attend White House Correspondents' Dinner

Young Dems worried about moral course of country

Two-thirds of young Democrats in a new poll say they are concerned with the moral direction of the U.S. The survey from Harvard’s Institute of Politics found that 66 percent of young Democrats, classified as 18- to 29-year-olds, shared the concern. By comparison, 42 percent of respondents said they were worried about the country’s moral direction in 2015.

Background: The Supreme Court's case on alternative sex discrimination

Word: The long term effect of Trump's foreign policies

Politico -Sure, there’s plenty of confusion, diplomatic malpractice and dysfunction in Trumpian foreign policy. But on two critical issues it is deadly functional: The administration is focused like a laser beam on irreversibly burning U.S. bridges to Iran and administering last rites to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And if you look at the administration’s actual policies, it’s clear they aren’t just meant to overturn President Barack Obama’s actions, but also to create points of no return—so that successor administrations cannot revert to past approaches even if they want to. If the administration succeeds—and it’s well on its way to doing so—it will have fundamentally damaged U.S. national interests for years to come.


The Trump regime mind

Independent, UK -Stephen Moore, one of President Donald Trump's planned nominees for the Federal Reserve Board, wrote columns decrying the "feminisation of basketball," denouncing co-ed sports and arguing that women should be barred from refereeing or covering men's basketball games - unless they are good-looking.  Mr Moore also wrote that female athletes were seeking "equal pay for inferior work" and lamented, "Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?"

April 22, 2019

More than half feel Trump obstructed justice

Daily Mail, UK - More than half the Americans who have either read or heard about the results of the redacted version of Robert Mueller’s Russia report feel that President Donald Trump obstructed justice. Of the respondents 53 per cent feel Trump did obstruct justice throughout the duration of the investigation and 47 percent feel there is no grounds for obstruction charges, according to a new Hill-HarrisX poll released Monday.

Biden and Sanders tied in Iowa, Sanders leads in NH

Most recent poll to right

27, 25, 27, 19% Biden
25, 24, 16, 19% Sanders
11, 9, 14%         Buttegieg
7, 10, 7 6%       Harris
9, 9, 7, 6 %       Warren 
5, 5, 9, 5%        O'Rourke
3, 2, 4, 4 %       Klobuchar
6, 3, 4 %           Booker

1%                    Gravel
1%                    Yang
1%                    Hickenlooper
1%                    Gillibrand
1, 1, 2, 0%        Castro
1, 1, 1, 0%        Inslee


Most recent poll - UNH -  to right

20, 27, 26, 16, 18% Sanders
28, 25, 22, 23, 12% Biden 
11, 11%                   Buttigieg
 14, 12, 10, 7, 4%     Harris

Why the Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world

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Did Trump reveal highly classified info the Russians?

Reuters - - President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation, two U.S. officials said on Monday, plunging the White House into another controversy just months into Trump’s short tenure in office.

The intelligence, shared at a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, was supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant group, both officials with knowledge of the situation said.

The White House declared the allegations, first reported by the Washington Post, incorrect.


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Royals reportedly want Harry and Meghan 'as far away as possible'

Forgotten words

John Nichols“You don’t have to say, ‘Let’s obstruct justice’ for it to be a crime. You judge people on their conduct, not magic phrases.”  -- Lindsey Graham calling for #impeachment in 1998

Presidential race update

A new Emerson Poll found that some supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary would prefer Donald Trump in the general election to some of Sanders’s primary opponents. . . .The poll  found that 21% of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump in the general election if Buttigieg won the primary, 26% said they would vote for Trump if Warren won the primary, 18% said they would vote for Trump if O’Rourke won the primary, and 17% said they would vote for Trump if Harris won the primary.

Biden heaping praise on Barr in 1991

Beto: Ending federal prohibition of Marijuana could help mental health problems, opioid crisis

Democratic Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton enters 2020 presidential race

Elizabeth Warren Proposes Eliminating Student Debt for Millions of Americans

Pete Buttigieg compares Bernie Sanders' supporters to Donald Trump's

Young worried about moral direction of country

The Hill -Two-thirds of young Democrats in a new poll say they are concerned with the moral direction of the U.S. The survey from Harvard’s Institute of Politics found that 66 percent of young Democrats, classified as 18- to 29-year-olds, shared the concern. By comparison, 42 percent of respondents said they were worried about the country’s moral direction in 2015.

Major union victory at Stop & Shop

Common Dreams -The union representing tens of thousands of striking Stop & Shop workers declared victory  after it reached a tentative agreement with management to increase wages and preserve employee benefits that were under threat.

"Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want—good jobs, affordable healthcare, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success," the United Food and Commercial Workers said in a statement.

The deal brings to an end the largest private-sector strike in years, which lasted 11 days and spanned three New England states.

Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion.

April 21, 2019

Dealing with a criminal president

Sam Smith - There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits arrest and indictment of a president who commits a crime. As noted here before, should the president murder one or more people it would be absurd to not hold him accountable or, worse, to let him him commit a crime and not be vulnerable for it until both his term and the statute of limitations had expired..

Given that neither the Justice Department nor the media is interested in the real law and that the GOP Senate would override n impeachment, probably the best route is an indictment by an attorney general at the state level which would have to be assessed by the courts.

Meanwhile, the House should hold extensive hearings on the criminal activities of Trump and his administration and then pass a resolution of censure, which would have political power but which the Senate would probably just ignore.

Prsidential race update

Trump, Romney and Huckabee have at it

Top Adviser to Beto O’Rourke Quits

Rep. Ilhan Omar: Legalize marijuana everywhere, expunge records of those jailed for pot offenses

Here’s Where the 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand on Climate

Amy Klobuchar has voted to confirm nearly two-thirds of Trump’s judicial nominees

Things you may not know about Jesus

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Depth of Connections Between Trump Campaign and Russians

Stupid Trump tricks

The Trump administration will not nominate anyone from the United States to serve on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. A State Department official told Politico that the White House intervened to stop the expected renomination of a human rights lawyer selected by Barack Obama to the 18-member UN panel. As a result, the U.S. will not nominate anyone to the committee.

Al Sharpton rightfully points out that the president speaks of giving support to Notre Dame but not a word about the three black churches burned down.

Word: The question to ask about Trump

Farron Cousins, Ring of Fire  - This is one line that I want to hear every single Democratic candidate repeat from now really into eternity because it doesn’t only apply for the 2020 election, but I hear it is name one single policy, the Donald Trump or the Republicans in the last five years, 10 years, and one policy that these folks have enacted that has made your life better. Okay.

That is the question that I want Democratic candidates to go out there and ask the American public just one, not just one question, but just one policy. Give me one policy that Republicans have enacted that has made the lives of average American citizens better. 

The bottom line of the Mueller Report

Lawfare: -The Mueller Report describes, in excruciating detail and with relatively few redactions, a candidate and a campaign aware of the existence of a plot by a hostile foreign government to criminally interfere in the U.S. election for the purpose of supporting that candidate’s side. It describes a candidate and a campaign who welcomed the efforts and delighted in the assistance. It describes a candidate and a campaign who brazenly and serially lied to the American people about the existence of the foreign conspiracy and their contacts with it. And yet, it does not find evidence to support a charge of criminal conspiracy, which requires not just a shared purpose but a meeting of the minds.

Here is the other bottom line: The Mueller Report describes a president who, on numerous occasions, engaged in conduct calculated to hinder a federal investigation. It finds ample evidence that at least a portion of that conduct met all of the statutory elements of criminal obstruction of justice. In some of the instances in which all of the statutory elements of obstruction are met, the report finds no persuasive constitutional or factual defenses. And yet, it declines to render a judgment on whether the president has committed a crime.

Now, the House must decide what to do with these facts.

San Fransisco's black population is disappearing

KTVU -For the past 50 years, there’s been an exodus of African Americans from San Francisco to the suburbs.

Fred Jordan, head of the African American Chamber of Commerce, told me that racism and urban renewal are the reasons African Americans leave San Francisco.

"They pushed 50,000 African Americans out of San Francisco," says Jordan.

Even Willie Brown, the iconic former San Francisco mayor, says the black exodus is not a myth.

“No, it's not a myth. It's a reality. When I first ran for public office more than 40 years ago, the African American population was about 13 percent, or 90,000. Today it's under 5 percent and they have left town in droves," he said.


Mueller Report

April 20, 2019

NYC Council passes major climate act

EcoWatch -The New York City Council passed the world's "largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward" on Thursday afternoon, marking a major milestone in the fight against the climate crisis.

The Climate Mobilization Act contains 10 provisions for a greener New York.

The legislation packages together 10 separate bills and resolutions, and calls in its centerpiece bill for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from city buildings. Opponents of the legislation claimed it could have an adverse affect on the city's economy and lead to a drying up of jobs.

But, as HuffPost reported, that doom and gloom future is unlikely:
The new rules would create demand for more than 3,600 construction jobs per year, by one estimate, and another 4,400 jobs in maintenance, services and operations, fueled by the sheer magnitude of the investment required to meet the emissions goals.
According to The New York Times, buildings account for 67 percent of the city's emissions.

Trump Pulls Back Obama-Era Protections For Women Workers

NBC - Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. The Fair Pay order was put in place after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation showed that companies with rampant violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts.

In an attempt to keep the worst violators from receiving taxpayer dollars, the Fair Pay order included two rules that impacted women workers: paycheck transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims.

Trump regime takes anti-immigrant bias to public housing

City Lab -The Trump administration has a new front in its anti-immigration campaign: public housing. This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a new rule to restrict housing assistance for families with mixed-citizenship status. The administration claims the rule would eject some 32,000 families from federal housing and cut down on waitlists for public assistance. Housing advocates say it wouldn’t make a dent in the millions of people waiting for public housing collectively across the country.

65 Percent of Americans Support Legalizing Weed

Same-sex borrowers 73 percent more likely to be denied mortgage, study finds.

The Mueller report obstruction of justice section suggests if Trump weren't president, he would've been indicted

Presidential race update

Pete Buttigieg Fired South Bend’s Black Police Chief.

Pete Buttigieg Says Trump ‘Deserves to be Impeached

Nancy Pelosi vs. young progressive women

April 19, 2019

Mueller report stuff

 Eric Holder: ‘Any Competent’ Prosecutor Would Win Obstruction Case Against Trump

Trump lawyers reviewed Mueller report for 10 hours before it was made public

Sean Illing, Vox - . I asked 12 legal experts to examine what the report had to say about collusion and obstruction of justice. Specifically, I wanted to know if Barr’s decision not to pursue obstruction charges was justified, and if the evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign amounted to criminal conspiracy. There was a near-consensus on both questions. While Mueller may not have had sufficient evidence to charge anyone with conspiracy, the experts agree that plenty of evidence exists. The same is true of the obstruction question. As one expert put it, “the Mueller report provides a road map for prosecuting Trump for obstruction of justice, but stops short of this finding because of legal doubts about indicting a sitting president.”

The Mueller report details how in June 2017, the president called White House counsel Donald McGahn at home from Camp David and ordered him to have the special counsel removed. On a second call, Mr McGahn said the president stepped up the pressure, saying: "Call Rod [Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein], tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can't be the Special Counsel", and "Mueller has to go" and "Call me back when you do it." Mr McGahn was so upset by the interference that he threatened to quit rather than participate in what he predicted would be a Nixon-style "Saturday Night Massacre". 

The Mueller report identifies numerous instances of interactions with Russian nationals—by the Trump campaign or Trump associates—in an effort to gain hacked emails and to coordinate their dissemination. That may not be enough to warrant criminal conspiracy charges, but saying there was no collusion—as Barr did—is brazenly dishonest. The campaign certainly tried to collude.
Similarly, the attorney general’s description of the president’s lack of corrupt intent regarding obstruction is contradicted by the Mueller report. The president repeatedly tried to shut down or interfere with the investigation. He dangled pardons to try to get people to keep quiet. That he was saved by his aides’ willingness to ignore his rants and instructions is a weak defense

Seven things to learn from the report

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions carried a resignation letter with him every time he visited the White House for months as he became more and more a target of criticism from President Trump, according to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Atty. Gen. William Barr announced the document said President Trump’s campaign had not “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” But Barr omitted the first part of that sentence from Robert S. Mueller III’s report. The special counsel wrote that Trump’s campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

From the report: The President then asked, “What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.”McGahn responded that he keeps notes because he is a “real lawyer” and explained that notes create a record and are not a bad thing. The President said, “I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes.”

In November 2015, Trump real estate adviser Felix Sater floated the idea, in an email to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, that the Trump project in Moscow could be a way to get in good with Putin, which could then help win the election. Sater salivates at the possibility in this email, in which he addresses Cohen as “buddy” and Trump as “our boy.”

[The report] documents how Trump asked his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to ask then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly call the Justice Department’s Russia probe “unfair” — and to have Sessions’ limit the breadth of the special investigation to election interference. An unwilling Lewandowski asked White House staffer and Sessions’ former chief of staff Rick Dearborn to deliver the message. Dearborn likewise never took action.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort briefed Konstantin Kilimnik, a man with suspected ties to Russian intelligence services, about key battleground states in the 2016 presidential election, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Presidential race update

Buttigieg to join striking Stop & Shop workers

The Trump 2020 campaign raked in $1million in donations after the Mueller report

Warren calls for House to begin impeachment proceedings

Joe Biden, inching closer to the presidential race, visits striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston

Harris: Integrity of US justice system 'took a real blow' with Barr's actions

Mayor Pete Buttigieg Is Totally Up for Booking Phish for His Inauguration 

Federal court rules cities can't arrest homeless for sleeping in public spaces

Popular Resistance -A federal court ruled last week it will not review a decision that cities cannot arrest people for sleeping on public property unless they have provided adequate shelter. The case, Martin v. City of Boise, was before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling could still be taken up the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling means cities cannot enforce anti-vagrancy or similar laws designed to clear the streets of the homeless, but it also can’t force them to build new shelters to house the homeless. The court ruled that punishing the homeless who have nowhere else to sleep is a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment.

“Criminally punishing homeless people for sleeping on the street when they have nowhere else to go is inhumane, and we applaud the Court for ruling that it is also unconstitutional,” Maria Foscarinis, executive director at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, said in a statement.

April 18, 2019

Trump mob update

House Democrats subpoena 9 major banks while probing Trump’s finances — including six US firms and three foreign lender

Mueller report mullings

Kellyanne Conway declares Mueller report's release 'best day' since Trump's election

Mueller's Russia report details Trump actions to impede inquiry

Biggest growth in south and west

Planetizen -=  "Counties with the largest numeric growth are all located in the south and the west, with counties in Texas taking four out of the top 10 spots according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today."

Thus, a U.S. Census Bureau press release announced the new population estimates this morning.

"By metropolitan area, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas, had the largest numeric growth with a gain of 131,767 (1.8 percent) in 2018, followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. with an increase of 96,268 (2.0 percent). Migration, both domestic and international, as well as natural increase contributed to the growth in each of these areas, with natural increase serving as the largest source of population growth in Dallas and domestic migration serving as the largest source in Phoenix."

Presidentail race update

John Sides, co-author of Identity Crisis  -A couple statistics relevant to the partisan loyalty of Bernie Sanders supporters:70% of 2008 HRC primary supporters reported voting for Obama in the Nov election. 79% of 2016 Sanders primary supporters reported voting for HRC in Nov election

Harris: Barr acting more like Trump's defense attorney than AG

Jay Inslee blames Donald Trump for Iowa floods as high waters plague residents

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe Announces He Won't Run For President

Mueller Report online

Choice bits from the Mueller Report saga

The best excerpts we've seen so far are from Politico. A few of them. 

Barr: “President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.”

Barr said he and Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law.” …

The prosecutors complained about Trump’s written responses to questions: “[T]he president stated on more than 30 occasions that he ‘does not “recall” or “remember” or have an “independent recollection”’ of in  formation called for by the questions. Other answers were ‘incomplete or imprecise.’” (p. 417) --

Mueller writes “The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.” (p. 390)

The President called then-White House counsel Don McGahn at home on June 17, 2017, and asked him to call Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, tell him Robert Muller was conflicted and tell him he had to be removed. McGahn didn’t do that.

Another step towards dictatorship

In fact, it's fair to argue that if a president can not be indicted or impeached because of alleged crimes, he is immune from the necessary basis of a democracy and therefore is, in effect, a dictator.

Mueller Referred 14 Investigations to Other Offices

Political Wire - “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team referred 14 investigations to other US attorney’s offices, including the prosecution of Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and Greg Craig, the Skadden Arps attorney who was indicted for lying to DOJ about work he had done for the Ukraine Ministry of Justice,” CNN reports.

“The other 12 investigations are redacted.” ork he had done for the Ukraine Ministry of Justice,” CNN reports.

Mueller: Don Jr. and Jared Kushner too dumb to be criminal

Daily Mail UK - Ignorance is bliss - and a great reasonable doubt defense.  That seems to be the case for Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who managed to avoid being charged for violating campaign finance law by not being smart enough to know that they were engaging in unlawful activity.

In summarizing his findings from the infamous June 2016 meeting between members of the Trump campaign and Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya, Robert Mueller wrote that unlawful activity did take place, but the men who broke them were unaware of their illegal actions.

'On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful,' reads the report.

'The investigation has not developed evidence that the participants in the meeting were familiar with the foreign-contribution ban or the application of federal law to the relevant factual context.'

"Even assuming that the promised "documents and information that would incriminate Hillary" constitute a "thing of value" under campaign-finance law, the government would encounter other challenges in seeking to obtain and sustain a conviction,' wrote Mueller.

He then explained how reasonable doubt would make it hard to convict Don Jr and Kushner.

'To prove that a defendant acted "knowingly and willfully," the government would have to show that the defendant had general knowledge that his conduct was unlawful,' wrote Mueller.

Even Trump didn't agree with Barr's mush

Mother Jones -When President Donald Trump learned that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections nearly two years ago, he predicted that the probe would end his presidency. “I’m fucked,” he said.

This account comes from Mueller’s report,  under a section providing evidence for one way Trump may have attempted to obstruct justice: trying to remove the special counsel in order to thwart the investigation.

Pat Robertson's anti-Christian thught of the day

Brown Valley Observer -   Moments after reports came in that the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was burning, televangelist Pat Robertson took to the CBN airwaves to advance a theory to viewers that the fire that engulfed the legendary parish was a result of “Hellfire spilling over from all the gays burning in it’s darkest recesses.”

“It was bound to happen. This is all written in the Bible. We as a society just let everything be gay this and gay that,” lamented the minister. “Soon enough, there’s just too many homosexuals, and when all those surplus homosexuals started to die, Hell commenced with a burning so bright, so intense, there was bound to be some that would spill over to the Earth.”

How U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer 20 Basic Questions

90% of Dems, 69% of all U.S. adults, 42% of GOPs "very" or "fairly" worried about climate change

About that collusion

The Hill -NBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that a New York Times report that the Justice Department has already briefed the White House about the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was evidence of "actual collusion."

"This is actual collusion," Todd said on "Meet The Press." "In case you’re wondering what does collusion look like, it looks like the attorney general’s lawyers briefing the president before Congress or the public."

Nearly 100,000 Pentagon Whistleblower Complaints Have Been Silenced

Mueller mis led on Iraq

Wikipedia - On February 11, 2003, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq has moved to the top of my list. As we previously briefed this Committee, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security, a threat that will certainly increase in the event of future military action against Iraq. Baghdad has the capability and, we presume, the will to use biological, chemical, or radiological weapons against US domestic targets in the event of a US invasion."

.... After the invasion, despite an exhaustive search led by the Iraq Survey Group involving a more than 1,400 member team, no evidence of Iraqi weapons programs was found. On the contrary, the investigation concluded that Iraq had destroyed all major stockpiles of weapons of mass destructions and ceased production in 1991 when sanctions were imposed

Another take on the Mueller Report

Coleeen Rowley is a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002.

Coleen Rowley, Institute for Public Accuracy - he real issue that I and most other Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity care about is whether any real evidence exists proving Russia meaningfully interfered in the election (regardless of whether that interference was with Trump’s collusion or not). Trump himself should care about that since it insinuates he would not have won except for Russian interference and thus weakens his presidency. As always, Mueller relies without critical questioning or thought upon intelligence agencies’ specious ‘assessments’ similar to how he relied upon Colin Powell’s presentation of false ‘intelligence’ to the U.N. to help the Bush administration gin up their illegal and disastrous war on Iraq. There could be gaping holes in Mueller’s indictment of the 12 Russian GRU agents for hacking the DNC — and indeed independent forensic researchers have challenged some of the hacking evidence he used. Prosecutors like Mueller know they ‘can indict a ham sandwich’ (and indeed Mueller’s been wrong before on several big cases, including misidentifying the Anthrax killer). In this case Mueller could have been even more lax as he was virtually assured that it would be unlikely he would ever need to prove his allegations in court.


Meanwhihle. . .

Arkansas is replacing its century-old statues in the U.S. Capitol with more modern figures: American music legend Johnny Cash and civil rights hero Daisy Lee Gatson Bates.

Just a reminder

Sam Smith - You don't need conspiracy or collusion if you have subservience

Word: Ignorance

“Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.” — Alfred North Whitehead

April 17, 2019

Incremental Progress Department

Mississippi governor signs bill permitting license plates with alternative flag without Confederate symbol

Noted black radio host in trouble with Sirus XM

Sam Smith - Mark Thompson (on whose show I'm on every Monday morning) has apparently been suspended by Sirius XM after a brief incident in which Mark was confronted by a critic who blocked his departure from an event. I say "apparently" because Sirius XM has said nothing over the past eight days about why Thompson is not on the air. 

My own suspicion is that Sirius XM has found Thompson too progressive for its liking - including his criticism of them for providing Steven Bannon a show - and so this minor and incredibly brief incident is being used against him.

As Politcon notes:
As a Georgetown University freshman undergrad in 1985, he organized the shantytown which led to the University’s divestment from apartheid South Africa . . . Later matriculating at the University of the District of Columbia, he was organizer and spokesperson for KIAMSHA, the 1990 eleven-day student protest and boycott, and was named one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Washington” by Regardie’s magazine.

In 1992, Mark teamed with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization to Abolish the Death Penalty, and a young fellow activist by the name of Ben Jealous, who would go on to head the NAACP, to organize and lead a campaign against a Congressionally-imposed ballot initiative forcing the death penalty on the District of Columbia. The “Thou Shalt Not Kill” campaign mobilized voters to defeat the initiative on Nov. 3, 1992.

In 1993, after organizing the weekly civil disobedience on Capitol Hill that helped win the first-ever Congressional vote on DC Statehood, Mark was jailed for 20 days. Both the Stand Up for Democracy Coalition and Mark received the United Nations Association 2004 Human Rights Award. In 1996, He joined Dick Gregory, Cong. Maxine Waters and journalist Gary Webb in exposing the CIA’s role in the crack cocaine epidemic.

... He helped to organize the National African American Leadership Summit which grew out of the NAACP, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, and he co-chaired the 1996 National Black Political Convention. He has emceed the Million Man March, every anniversary of the March on Washington, and the annual commemoration of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. He recently emceed the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March.

Mark chaired the NAACP Metropolitan Police and Criminal Justice Review Task Force for the DC Branch. In that capacity, he co-authored legislation establishing the Board and Office of Police Complaints, and facilitated the beginning of an unprecedented study on racial profiling. He also taught courses in diversity awareness and cultural sensitivity at the DC Police Academy.
For details on the current incident check out this article from the Washington Blade by a longtime friend,  Richard J. Rosendall, who notes:
My friend Rev. Mark Thompson, morning drive host at SiriusXM Progress and a frequent MSNBC commentator, was suspended on April 9 after defending himself when accosted in Newark by professional provocateur Thomas “Afrika” Ibiang. The hashtag movement #ADOS, which stands for American Descendants Of Slaves and has been attacking Thompson for months, is defending Ibiang and exploiting the incident to get Thompson fired.

ADOS, like Thompson, supports reparations, but from a very different angle. Co-founder Yvette Carnell, as musician and social activist Talib Kweli Greene writes, “has videos titled ‘Why Is Everyone So Afraid of Steve Bannon’ and ‘Trump Is Right About Black Poverty.’ … She has tweets … about how Trump is correct about birthright citizenship. She uses her Twitter account to push anti immigration propaganda, and she uses nazi slogans like ‘blood and soil.’” Carnell is also a board member of white nationalist think tank PFIR.
If all of this sounds bizarre, I feel you. Just understand that Carnell is deliberately driving a wedge between descendants of slaves and other black Americans. Thus Sen. Kamala Harris, of Indian and Jamaican heritage, has her authenticity questioned. But the malign fruits of four centuries of American racism hit all black people regardless of how or when their ancestors got here.
You can follow the follow the story as it develops at Make It Plan on Facebook. And you can add your name in support of Mark at IStandWithMarkThompson

Presidential race update

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders are most popular 2020 Dems among Hispanics

Tulsi Gabbard hammers Donald Trump for turning U.S. into 'prostitute of Saudi Arabia'

Beto O'Rourke underpaid taxes, returns show

Booker: 'We do have a problem at the southern border' and 'Democrats should not deny that'

Bernie Sanders Fox News town hall draws more than 2.55 million

 Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates

More than 1500 attend Buttigieg Iowa event that expected 50

O'Rourke defends charitable donations: 'I'm doing everything I can right now'

Facing a field of more than 15 qualified candidates, the Democratic parties of Hawaii and Alaska will both use ranked choice voting (RCV) to apportion their delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

How a laser scanner could help restore Notre Dame

Poll:Overwhelming support for legalized marijuana

The Hill -In a new Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday, 84 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana. The April 12-13 survey of registered voters found overwhelming support across ages, races, genders, and even political affiliations for making cannabis legal.

Ecuador president claims Assange smeared feces on embassy walls

Independent, UK -Ecuador’s president has confirmed that one of the reasons Julian Assange’s asylum was revoked was because he allegedly smeared faeces on the walls of the London embassy.

The WikiLeaks founder’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson has previously said the “outrageous” claims are “not true”.

However the country’s leader Lenin Moreno has since claimed there were several reasons he was forced out of the embassy building in Knightsbridge – and that the alleged faeces incident was one of them.

“From verbal insults against Ecuador when he referred to our country as a completely insignificant country, and excuse me that I have to say this here, but even smearing his faeces on our embassy’s walls,” he said in an interview with the BBC.

April 16, 2019

Stupid Trump tricks

Donald Trump says he hasn't released tax returns because he's being audited — and claims he is being audited because of his faith. "Well, maybe because of the fact that I'm a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it, maybe there's a bias," Trump told CNN after Thursday's debate.

50 reasons Trump is indebted to Putin — dating back to 1984

Steps towards dictatorship

Trump's Justice Department Now Says the Emoluments Clause Doesn't Apply to His Hotels

Poll Drug rehab

63% of Americans say the U.S. should spend more on drug rehab to combat the epidemic of addiction

Trump regime bans BDS co-founder from entering U.S.

Guardian -Last Wednesday, as I was preparing to depart for the United States for a series of speaking engagements, I was abruptly stopped and prevented from boarding my flight at Ben Gurion airport. The US consulate informed the airline staff that US immigration has banned me from entering the country, despite having a valid visa, without providing a reason.

Given my regular, unhindered travel to the US for years, this ban seems to be an ideologically and politically motivated measure that fits in with Israel’s escalating repression against human rights defenders. Israel’s far-right regime is not merely continuing its decades-old system of military occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, it is increasingly outsourcing its anti-democratic tactics to the US.

As a co-founder of the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  movement for Palestinian rights, I have been smeared by the Israeli government and banned from travel repeatedly, including in 2018 when I was prevented from going to Jordan to accompany my late mother during cancer surgery. Israel’s intelligence minister threatened me with “targeted civil elimination”, drawing condemnation from Amnesty International. Their de facto and “arbitrary travel ban” against me was recently lifted for three months after Amnesty International’s pressure.

On this US trip, I was scheduled to meet with policymakers and journalists and to address the critical need for cutting US complicity in Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian rights before audiences at New York University, Harvard, a black community bookstore in Philadelphia and the Tzedek Chicago synagogue. Afterwards, I was going to attend my daughter’s wedding in Houston.


Presidential race update

Sanders takes on Fox — and emerges triumphant

Sanders: No Apology For Being Millionaire... 

Pete Buttigieg suggests national service program

O'Rourke releases 10 years of tax returns

Democrats tight against Trump


Most recent poll to right

The latest Emerson poll finds Biden's lead over Trum dropping down to single digits and all other  Democrats are in a statistical tie at best.

Biden +12, +10, 10, 10, 6%

Sanders +10, +2, +2, 10, 3%  
O'Rourke +6,   +6, -2, 2, 2% 
Warren  +6,   +6, +2, 4%
Harris +7,   +4, +4, 3, 0% 
Buttigieg -2 

April 15, 2019

The Bible on immigration

Matt Lewis, Daily Beast -Exodus 23:9 says, “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Presidential race update

Andrew Yang, 2020 Democrat, proposes $1,000/month 'freedom dividend' for every American over 18

Warren unveils 2020 plan to stop drilling on public lands
Beto O’Rourke: U.S. ‘Has Completely Forgotten Its Constitutional Responsibility to Lawfully Declare and End These Wars’

Weld Formally Launches Primary Challenge of Trump

Buttigieg officially announces presidential campaign

Elizabeth Warren Proposes Broad Plan to Protect Public Lands

Sanders accuses Trump of betraying working people

Stupid Trump tricks

Trump Tells Personal Accountant To Ignore Dem Subpoena For His Financial Info

“What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Word: Let's put Assange aside and deal with freedom of the press

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason -   Let’s put aside Assange for a moment—because when laws are written or precedents set based only on whether Bad People are bad, we all lose. We let powerful figures convince us that giving that Bad Person what they deserve is what matters most, consequences be damned. And then we end up creating all sorts of new injustices to “correct” for a perceived past one.

What the government and its cheerleaders are really asking here is for us to suspend fundamental principles and practices underlying free speech and a free press.

It is not uncommon for confidential sources in government, business, and other powerful institutions to leak information to journalists and publishers. This is how we’ve found out about some of the biggest political scandals of the past 100 years. But now the U.S. Department of Justice is suggesting that these basic news-gathering and reporting functions are criminal.

... The Assange prosecution “would be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations,” the ACLU’s Ben Wizner tells Sullivan.

Sanders polls ahead of Biden

As judged by Democratic voters. Most recent poll - Emerson - to right

Sanders 25, 27, 20, 26, 25, 19, 29, 18, 25, 19, 23, 29% 
Biden   28, 35, 28, 26, 35, 29, 39, 26, 33, 36, 32, 24% 
Buttigieg 3, 2, 4, 6, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9% 
Harris  10, 10, 11, 10, 8, 12, 12, 8, 8, 5,5, 8, 9, 9 , 8%
O'Rourke 6, 7, 4, 6, 6, 8, 11, 11, 8, 12, 5, 5, 8, 7, 8, 8%

Warren  6, 4, 7, 4, 7, 8, 7, 6, 8, 7, 4, 11, 11, 7, 6, 7, 7% 
Yang 1, 2, 1, 1, 3%  
Castro 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3% 
Booker 5, 3, 4, 4, 5, 4, 5, 4, 3, 3, 4, 2, 4, 3, 4, 6, 4, 2%  
Klobuchar 7, 4, 2, 3, 2, 3, 3, 2, 3. 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1%
Gilibrand  1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 0%
Hickenlooper 1, 1, 0, 1% 
Inslee 1,1,1, 1, 0, 1% 
Gabbard 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 3. 3, 0%