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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 18, 2018, 04:51:30 pm »

+  = 

The Terrible Trump Portrait That Explains Everything

October 18, 2018

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: The legacies of Nixon , Reagan 🐉 and W. Bush 🦕 combine to tell a long, sorry tale of corruption, greed, brazen lies, abused power and religious fundamentalism gone wild that put us where we are today. Remove any one of those men from the strange painting that lit up the internet on Monday, and Donald Trump would be just another late-night punchline you slept through, again.

Read the Article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 18, 2018, 01:19:49 pm »

October 18, 2018

Donald Trump just ATTACKED Bernie Sanders for fighting to pass Medicare For All.

But Bernie Sanders is NOT backing down:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 18, 2018, 01:09:21 pm »


America Is Authoritarian by Design


A second case in point is the passion play that unfolded last spring over creeping fascist Donald Trump’s vicious policy of separating migrant children from their parents as they cross the southern border. Cable news viewers saw highly emotional and personalized reporting on the trauma inflicted on Latinx families. Trump and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency were portrayed in a most unfavorable light, eliciting liberal and progressive outrage along with activist action that led to the reunification of many of the families torn apart by the Trump administration’s cruelty.

Beyond these dramatic stories, media consumers heard the usual timeworn calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” and clear “paths to citizenship.” Notice, however, what escaped critical examination. As during its breathless coverage of the “unaccompanied minor” migration crisis in 2014, the corporate media this year has had little to say about the following ways in which the United States has helped make Mexico and Central America unlivable for many of its people:

Flooding these nations with cheap, subsidized U.S. agricultural exports, devastating campesino communities in the name of “free trade.”

Using so-called free trade agreements to force the privatization of government enterprises, the deregulation of corporations, the slashing of social budgets and the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects.

Intensifying drug gang violence and power by advancing the militarized “War on Drugs.”

Accelerating climate change, which has ravaged Central American coffee and corn production.

Funding and equipping authoritarian and violent, mass-murderous “Third World fascist” regimes (including a right-wing junta the Obama administration helped install in Honduras toward the beginning of 2009) and forces allied with U.S. and business interests in Central America.

Thanks to the media’s failure to provide any of this essential historical-hemispheric context, the great majority of Americans are unaware that the United States has a moral obligation to take in and otherwise assist Central American immigrants and refugees seeking to escape situations made hopeless by U.S. intervention and policy.

Full article:


Agelbert COMMENT:

"Presiding over this failed state, of course, is Donald Trump 🦀 —the perfect avatar for a corporate, financial and military oligarchy 🐉🦕🦖 😈 👹 💵 🎩 🍌🏴‍🦍 ☠️🚩 systematically pillaging the state. "

True. 😟

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 12, 2018, 11:54:04 pm »

Trump is a LIAR!  

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 12, 2018, 07:35:58 pm »

By Eli Watkins, Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco, CNN

Updated 3:06 PM ET, Wed October 10, 2018


Championed for years by the left flank of the party, Medicare for all gained support following Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders' bid for the presidency. Many potential candidates for the party's 2020 nomination joined Sanders last year in filing a bill to establish the program, and former President Barack Obama referred to Medicare for all approvingly in a speech last month.

Trump, in his op-ed less than a month from the November elections, claimed the plan would devastate the health care industry, undercut Medicare in its current form and "inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care."

Full Article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 11, 2018, 11:41:20 pm »

Trump Probably Engaged in Felony Tax Evasion

October 10, 2018

White collar criminologist Bill Black analyzes the New York Times investigation into Trump’s tax evasion and argues that if true, these would be considered felonies. However, he will probably never be held to account for this, before he leaves office

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 05, 2018, 03:00:17 pm »

Weak Underfunded IRS Behind Trump’s Wealth and History of Avoiding Taxes

October 4, 2018

Investigative tax attorney James Henry talks about the New York Times’ investigation into the origins of Trump’s wealth, how it is related to tax evasion, and how the US tax system has systematically and increasingly favored the rich


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 05, 2018, 12:41:23 pm »

Vote for Climate Justice in 2018

One of the most important ways we can protect the climate, our democracy, and the Supreme Court for the long term is by electing the progressive climate leaders we need on November 6.

Watch Sunrise Movement‘s Varshini Prakash talk about what’s at stake — and pledge to vote. On November 6, we can to take action to protect our democracy and win the just future we need. There’s too much at stake to sit this one out.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 04, 2018, 05:05:50 pm »

Nicholas Grossman 

Senior Editor at Arc Digital. Poli Sci prof (IR) at U. Illinois. Author of “Drones and Terrorism.” Politics, national security, and occasional nerdery.

SepTEMBER  29, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh Is A Liar (And 44 Other Things I Believe)

Some honest thoughts about this fascinating, harrowing national drama

1. I believe Brett Kavanaugh is a liar.

2. I believe this primarily due to the hearings where he defended himself from accusations of sexual assault.

3. I believe he experienced nights of drinking where he couldn’t remember some stuff that happened. I believe his freshman year roommate — who described Kavanaugh as “frequently, incoherently drunk” — as well as others who said he drank a lot and often became belligerent.

4. I believe this, in part, because I knew guys like Brett in college. A lot of people knew guys like Brett in college.

5.. I don’t believe drinking to excess in high school or college matters. I strongly believe everyone’s responsible for their actions, intoxicated or otherwise, but the drinking itself doesn’t matter.

6.. I don’t believe it matters to the American people either. George W. Bush drank to excess, almost certainly drugs too, grew out of it. Barack Obama admitted to marijuana and c o c a i n e, grew out of it. Voters didn’t care.

7.But I believe lying about it matters.

8. I don’t believe “Renate Alumnius” is an innocent reference to friendship (though I believe Kavanaugh could have written it in his yearbook without ever hooking up with her). I don’t believe Kavanaugh called himself “Beach Week Ralph Club — Biggest Contributor” because he ate too much spicy food. I don’t believe “boofing” refers to flatulence or “Devil’s Triangle” refers to a drinking game. I believe Kavanaugh knows this.

9. I can’t believe youthful drinking and high school yearbooks are being discussed as an issue of national importance.

10. But I believe lying about unimportant things is important. Kavanaugh might be lying because he thinks the truth makes accusations against him more believable. He might be lying because he’s embarrassed. Neither makes it better.

11. I know that lying about innocuous things is a big red flag when applying for a security clearance. If you’d lie just because you’re embarrassed about youthful indiscretion, how can we trust you not to lie if you make a mistake, or something goes wrong?

12. I believe Brett Kavanaugh made a conscious decision to lie to America to get on the Supreme Court. I do not believe we can objectively determine if he’s lying about more serious things — especially pertaining to Christine Blasey Ford — but his willingness to lie about unimportant things raises suspicion.

13. I believe Christine Blasey Ford, and I did not say that before the hearing. I found her testimony credible and upsetting. I especially believed her when she opened with “I’m terrified.” Who wouldn’t be?

14. I was also moved by Kavanaugh’s testimony. I believed him when he choked up talking about how hard this has been on his family. I considered the possibility he’s completely innocent, and it’s horrifying.

15. I don’t believe anyone knows how they’d react if they faced false accusations in a setting like this. I believe Kavanaugh’s anger and emotion is one plausible reaction.

16, I also believe Kavanaugh’s anger and emotion is consistent with someone who believes he is being unfairly denied something that is rightfully his.

17. I believe he worked incredibly hard to get here. I believe he straightened up sometime after college, and lived the moral life his defenders describe. Some of the guys like Brett I knew in college did too.

18. I believe 25+ years of responsible adulthood easily outweighs drinking too much and acting like a jerk as a young man.

19. But I believe acting like a jerk is on one side of an important line, and sexual assault’s on the other.

20. I believe that saying you believe both Kavanaugh and Ford is a cop-out. In particular, believing she was assaulted as described, but by someone other than Kavanaugh, is a dodge — a way to keep supporting his nomination without having to say she’s lying or crazy.

21. I know memory can be unreliable. But Dr. Ford — an accomplished research psychologist — knows that as well as anyone. She still says “100% certain.”

22. I know I don’t remember specific dates of any social gatherings in high school, nor how I got to all of them. I believe people making a big deal out of Blasey Ford not remembering these details don’t remember dates of their high school gatherings either.

23. I believe it’s possible Blasey Ford is telling the truth and Kavanaugh doesn’t remember. I believe this because he drank a lot, because many high school upperclassmen barely notice younger teenagers around them, and because the incident sounds much more memorable for the victim than the perpetrator.

24. I believe it’s much more likely someone on the cusp of incredible power — someone who believes they deserve it — would lie. Especially compared to someone relatively anonymous who knew she’d be dragged through the mud for coming forward.

25. I believe lying in Blasey Ford’s position would be harder than lying in Kavanaugh’s.

26. I know some r a p e accusations are fabrications. But the research indicates fake accusations are usually over-the-top, often come from people with a history of lying, and don’t include admissions of imperfect memory. I don’t believe Blasey Ford’s accusation raises any of those red flags.

27. I believe Julie Swetnick’s accusation, conveyed through attorney/media personality Michael Avenatti — that Kavanaugh and Judge orchestrated gang r a p e parties — does.

28. I believe Democrats have played politics throughout, manipulating the timing to delay passed the midterms. I believe some of them see Blasey Ford more as a tool than a person.

29. But I don’t see how any of that reduces her credibility.

I30.  believe Republicans arguing that they have to take a stand or Democrats will drum up similar accusations against any future nominee need to ask themselves why Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, and Gorsuch did not face accusations of sexual assault. I believe they should consider the possibility the relevant factor with Thomas and Kavanaugh was particular to Thomas and Kavanaugh, not the party of the president who nominated them.

31. I believe there’s a fundamental flaw in Republicans’ “gotta take a stand” logic: forgetting about the American people. Democrats will attack any Republican Supreme Court nominee, but attacks against squeaky-clean nominees like John Roberts won’t resonate outside of h a r d c o r e partisans. Polls show approval for Kavanaugh dropped over 10% since his nomination. That doesn’t happen to everyone Democrats attack.

32. I believe public opinion on this matters. Not because we should govern by public opinion poll — we definitely shouldn’t — but because Supreme Court legitimacy matters.

33. I know John Roberts thinks legitimacy matters, and I don’t believe he would ever make a blatantly partisan public statement like Kavanaugh did before the Senate, not even if he were falsely accused of sexual assault.

34. I believe the American Bar Association correctly emphasizes legitimacy in it’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The first canon reads: “A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”

35. By this standard, I believe Kavanaugh vowing revenge against Democrats — “what goes around comes around” —disqualifies him from the Supreme Court on its own.

36. I believe many Americans view this episode through a partisan filter. Bias and motivated reasoning are rampant, and I believe everyone should be honest about that and try to work towards objectivity.

37. I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to convict Brett Kavanaugh of attempted r a p e in a court of law. There’s no physical evidence and no corroborating witnesses. The victim’s testimony, however compelling, isn’t enough.

38. I do not believe the accusations have been refuted either. Blasey Ford says he did it, Kavanaugh says he didn’t, and everyone else says they don’t remember.

39. I believe “I don’t remember” means “I don’t remember,” notI definitely remember and it didn’t happen. 😉”

40. I believe if we want to know what happened we need to hear from Mark Judge, the only witness to the alleged attack.

41.  do not believe we will know what happened beyond a reasonable doubt. But we have to make a decision despite the uncertainty.

42. I do not believe the criminal law standard of beyond a reasonable doubt is the correct one to use here. As I explained in a previous article, we’re choosing whether to elevate Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, not whether to throw him in jail.

43. I believe Supreme Court Justices should be held to the highest standard of integrity, and that there are too many clouds over Kavanaugh to confirm.

44. I believe confirming him would do long-term harm to the country by damaging Supreme Court legitimacy, and that there are many qualified conservative jurists who wouldn’t.

45. I believe this episode will damage the country however it turns out. Millions of Americans believe Kavanaugh is a sex offender. And millions of Americans believe Kavanaugh is an innocent man smeared by political opportunists. Unfortunately, I do not believe there is anything that could change either of those beliefs.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 03, 2018, 10:13:56 pm »

Disaster Profiteers vs. the People of Puerto Rico

October 2, 2018

One year after Hurricane Maria, counting the dead is one of many challenges that Puerto Rico faces under massive debt, crippling austerity, and disaster profiteers. Aaron Maté speaks to writer and educator Rima Brusi and Carla Minet of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico

Download mp3

Story Transcript

AARON MATE: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate.

One year after Hurricane Maria, there is virtually no dispute that thousands of people lost their lives in Puerto Rico. A Harvard study earlier this year says the storm likely killed more than 4600. And ahead of Maria’s first anniversary, the Puerto Rican government officially acknowledged a toll of at least 2975. But there is one notable exception in the White House. President Trump recently said Democrats had inflated the toll to make him look bad. And FEMA director Brock Long made the rounds on cable news to downplay the numbers.

BROCK LONG: And it’s frustrating. Those studies, the Harvard study was done differently than the George Washington study, or this study or that study. And the numbers are all over the place. So the George Washington study looked at what happened six months after the fact. And you know what happens is – and even in this event you might see more deaths indirectly occur as time goes on because people have heart attacks due to stress, they fall off their house trying to fix their roof, they die in car crashes because they went through an intersection where the stoplights weren’t working. You know the other thing that goes on – there’s all kinds of studies on this that we take a look at. Spousal abuse goes through the roof. You can’t blame spousal abuse after a disaster on anybody.

AARON MATE: The Trump administration’s death toll denial has at least garnered some media attention. But it’s one of many tragedies that Puerto Rico is facing one year after Hurricane Maria. Well, joining me are two guests; Rima Brusi is a writer, educator and advocate, she’s formerly a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico. And Carla Minet is executive director of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico. Welcome to you both.

Carla, I’ll start with you. What do we know at this point about the death toll? Your group was on the story from the beginning, reporting that the early numbers were a huge undercount. Every study since then has corroborated your findings. What do we know today?

CARLA MINET: Well, we still know very little. What we have is the recent George Washington University report that says that around more than 3000 people died. But it’s another estimate. They haven’t done like an epidemiology kind of study. What we did is that we did a journalism investigation. We recently published the most complete database that has 487 cases of verified cases of people that died because of the hurricane, following the CDC guidelines. So that database is online, and there you have the most complete list and testimonies of the family members of the people that died because of the hurricane, though still no official new numbers have come out.

AARON MATE: And what do you think accounts for a sizable number of the deaths that came in the days and months after the hurricane, the people who didn’t die immediately in the storm?

CARLA MINET: Most of the deaths that we have been documenting our debt from people that died the next weeks and months following the hurricane. They died because of the lack of medical services, lack of medicines, lack of electricity to get their medical treatment, problems in hospitals, infections sepsis, lack of the possibility of having dialysis, and the kind of deaths that are considered related, but not directly, to the hurricane. But since the CDC still considers them related to a hurricane although they are indirectly related.

AARON MATE: And Rima Brusi, as you look at the media coverage of Hurricane Maria one year later, there was recently a round of commemorations, what’s your sense of how Puerto Rico is being covered today and what issues do you think are being most overlooked?

RIMA BRUSI: Well, there’s a lot of journalists and a lot of writers in general that are doing a really good job, a really nice job on that, are making a big effort to get at the roots of the crisis and to cover the issue in depth. Now that said, the mainstream press in general has a tendency to focus on the hurricane in itself as an isolated natural disaster and to portray Puerto Ricans as victims of a natural disaster and nothing else. Whereas there’s many processes that not only make a disaster much worse, like Carla was saying, in terms of debts and the impact in a general sense. Most of that predated the hurricane and had come from before, from 2015.

The stating by the local government of the debt unpayable, and by the reaction of the bondholders and by reaction the federal government and their decision to impose the Junta de Control Fiscal, this fiscal management board that is pretty much all-powerful, and that has an impact on the way things happen in every financial institution in Puerto Rico nowadays. So I guess what I’m saying is that journalists covering Puerto Rico sometimes do not go into the issue. So they don’t understand the economic roots and the ideological roads of many of the things that they’re covering, as if they were only a consequence of Hurricane Maria. No, there’s a lot of stuff going on from before. Stuff that places like the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, where Carla works, were covering before the hurricane.

AARON MATE: And for people who are unfamiliar with some of those structural issues, can you give us a brief survey and your assessment of where they are now? We’re talking about an island 72 billion dollars in bond debt. About 50 billion dollars when it comes to pension obligations. But what a lot of people don’t know is the strong connection that these huge obligations have to Wall Street.

RIMA BRUSI: Absolutely. Wall Street is not particularly concerned about the pension engagements part. But as soon as the governor in 2015 declared the debt unpayable, a group of … I think it was 34 hedge funds and vulture funds hurried, in a very rushed manner commissioned this report, and in about eight to ten pages sort of made a set of recommendations to the Puerto Rican government. Demands, really, more than recommendations because they reflect the demands later made in court by the same group of debtholders. And these demands included a number of austerity measures.

They want labor reform, they want education reform. And when they say education reform, they focus on two very specific things. They wanted to reduce the budget of the public university and they wanted to reduce, and I’m quoting almost verbatim, the number of teachers working in the K-12 system. So very early in the game, two years before the hurricane, already there was an agenda of closing schools, of attacking labor, of reducing union power or eliminating unions or undermining unions. All those things predated the hurricane.

So now the we are further debilitated by the hurricane, those measures are even more dangerous and undermine Puerto Rico’s ability to recover and to recover economically, and also frankly emotionally, from the hurricane. Now the overall frame for this, of course, is a frame that combines disaster capitalism, which I think a lot of your viewers are familiar with that the kind of framework, and the approach after disasters to sort of make a profit out of it by different actors. And then in the case of Puerto Rico, there’s also colonialism. We are powerless to take our own measures, in political terms, against disaster profiteering because the local government has pretty much no power. The federal government’s power trumps any decision the Puerto Rican government can make.

AARON MATE: Carla, let me ask you about the issue of disaster profiteering, because there was a recent study put out by the Center for a New Economy, which your group has covered, that found that ninety percent of federal contracts for post-Maria recovery have been issued to companies that are outside of Puerto Rico.

CARLA MINET: Yeah, definitely. Everybody has been wondering where this recovery money is going. And we now have just learned that almost 90 percent of this money is going to companies in the U.S. And I think it begs the question; with so much unemployment in Puerto Rico and so much need, so many people eager to work, people that even went to the U.S. and would be willing to come back to the island if they had a decent job, why is this recovery process not being distributed among Puerto Rican companies and Puerto Rican people? So it’s definitely part of this system, this federal system of contracting companies that are on their list. I don’t know if this has a political side. I can suppose it does. But definitely, it’s not being something that is for the benefit of the Puerto Rican economy that’s been for like 12 years now in depression.

AARON MATE: Rima Brusi, as we wrap, you mentioned a bit about some of the attacks on education. And let me ask you about that in the context of your former school, University of Puerto Rico. Can you talk about what has been happening there, and also the impact that cuts to education have on activism? Because it’s my understanding that campuses like the University of Puerto Rico have been sort of the center for so much resistance inside Puerto Rico, so much activism over many, many years.

RIMA BRUSI: So, yes. The university, since 1948 at least, has been very active in terms of leading the resistance, spearheading the resistance against not only disaster profiteering but before that, neoliberal measures, austerity measures and also colonialism and political colonialism in the sense of the federal power over Puerto Rican affairs. So I was not surprised when they became the first target by the Junta de Control Fiscal, the fiscal management board imposed by the federal government through the PROMESA law. As soon as they were officially established, their very first target was the public university. And they basically slashed the public university’s budget by a third. So at that point in time, the university’s budget was determined by a formula in terms of a portion, a percentage, of the Puerto Rico’s budget in general.

So when Puerto Rico was in financial trouble, the budget of the university went down in the same way every other budget for every other agency went down. And this was designed like that in order to protect the university from partisan bickering and from partisan actions. Now that the Junta has decided to cut the university’s budget by a third, the university is more vulnerable to partisanship and to partisan attacks from within, locally. But also outside of that, the federal government has been really unhelpful. Like from all the relief funds that the federal government assigned to relief efforts associated with Hurricane Maria, the University of Puerto Rico, which has 11 campuses and takes care of the majority of students on the island, received only 20 percent.

Now surprisingly, institutions like NYU, New York University, which has a lot of money, and Grand Canyon University, which was until very recently a for-profit and in many ways still is, got a lot of money from Hurricane Maria’s relief funds, even though they were not affected in any way by the hurricane. So this combination of local partisanship and colonialism and the intervention by the federal government, and the way the federal government has decided to distribute their funds, has affected the university to a great degree, to the point where we, and I say we because I consider myself still part of it, are frankly desperate.

Because the university generates 70 percent of all academic knowledge in the island. It generates 90 percent of all peer reviewed and basic research work. It is a bastion for the resistance in Puerto Rico. It is also one of the main motors, and I want to say the main but at least one of the main motors, in terms of upward mobility and economic opportunity for our people. And it’s being handicapped in such a way that we are afraid. And Joseph Stiglitz agrees with us on this and local economists like Jose Carballo-Cueto also do. The handicapping of the University of Puerto Rico is going to have a terrible effect, a terrible impact in terms of Puerto Rico’s recovery.

AARON MATE: As we wrap up, Carla, last question to you. You are the executive director of a Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico. What are the key stories and issues that you have your eye on that you think are going to be shaping the direction that Puerto Rico goes in?

CARLA MINET: So the stories about the bankruptcy process and how it evolves now that we have a new scenario, I think it’s a very important story. Also, how is the federal government going to keep going at this recovery process in this scenario where we have very complex issues to tackle? Not only the economic situation and the devastation created by the hurricane, but the fact that the most impacted issue since the hurricane is the electric grid in Puerto Rico, which is probably the biggest problem in terms of how much it takes to have a new and resilient, as they want to call it, electric grid that is strong enough for the island looking into the future and knowing that we will get many other tropical storms, hurricanes, et cetera, because of climate change and the way we’ve been behaving with nature.

So I think it’s important to understand that all these stories, as Rima said, are very related to the political system in Puerto Rico, the political nature of us being a colony of the U.S., and how that would manifest into every decision that the federal government makes. I think it’s the best way to understand how the decisions are being taken. With the new elections coming up in the U.S. in the next months, I think it is a question of how will that be relevant to Puerto Rico’s case. I think many people are trying to figure that out, if it means something for us. And also, I think that in the end, the most important question is how can Puerto Ricans be the ones deciding their own future, their own recovery process, and not the federal government, not the bondholders, not the U.S. companies coming into Puerto Rico to profit from this disaster.

AARON MATE: We’ll leave it there. I want to thank both my guests. Rima Brusi is a writer, educator and advocate, formerly a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico. And Carla Minet is Executive Director at the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico. Thanks to you both.

CARLA MINET: Thank you.

RIMA BRUSI: Thank you.

AARON MATE: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 03, 2018, 08:52:17 pm »

A vital element of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was the fiction-filled autobiography he foisted on us, the beating heart of which was, “Vote for me because I’m a self-made rich man.” For a variety of reasons best contemplated after a tall glass of neat whiskey and a nap  ;), it worked.

Erasing the presidency of Barack Obama while enshrining “Owning the Libs” as a national policy priority became the grease to lubricate the machine. Nearly two years later the mythology of the billionaire president remains highly motivational to Trump’s still-frantic supporters.

That mythology took a torpedo shot below the waterline on Tuesday courtesy of The New York Times, which unleashed a meticulous 14,000-word analysis of the origins of Trump’s fortune. David Cay Johnston , winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting, wrote of the Times report, “As the paper’s former tax reporter, and the journalist who has covered Trump the longest, I’m in a solid position to judge the depth and quality of their work. It is masterful.

Full Article:

Be William Rivers Pitt Truthout

PUBLISHED October 3, 2018

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 03, 2018, 07:49:07 pm »

John Oliver on SCOTUS Nominee Kavanaugh 🦍

October 3, 2018 6:00pm by Barry Ritholtz

John Oliver discusses the ongoing controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh, the sexual assault allegations against him, his Supreme Court nomination, and what that could all mean for the highest (mostly-dog) court in the land.

Brett Kavanaugh: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 02, 2018, 12:25:17 pm »

Sanders Calls for Kavanaugh Perjury Investigation – Where are the Democrats? A Q&A with Paul Jay

October 1, 2018

Dharna Noor and Paul Jay discuss the announcement by Mitch McConnell that a Senate vote will be held before the end of this week and a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders calling for an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s possible perjury

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 30, 2018, 01:09:04 pm »


🌩 Storms of autumn 🍁 🍂

By Walt Amses 

Sep 28 2018 

Editor’s note: Walt Amses is a writer and former educator who lives in North Calais.

As our floundering ship of state looks ever more likely to slip under relentless waves of growing resistance, the captain wonders why the crew seems intent on tossing a life preserver to everyone else. What about him? Based on past performance we can envision him pushing to the front of the line, ordering the sailors to stand down and focusing the entire rescue operation on getting himself out of harm’s way while blaming everyone else for navigating toward the iceberg.

It makes you wonder what it might be like to share a lifeboat with Donald J. Trump … of course that’s a joke. You’d have to live in a vacuum not to understand the president’s main priority in a natural disaster would not deviate from his main priority in a political disaster: himself. You’d be tossed overboard without a moment’s hesitation. Unless you’re a woman. In which case you’d probably jump overboard yourself, willing to risk a possible encounter with jaws rather than an inevitable rendezvous with paws. #MeToo movement, meet ME-ME-ME 2.0.

Utter disregard for others comes through loud and clear via tweets so shameless that even allies are thinking twice: The almost 3,000 victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico were not killed by the hurricane but rather were the product of a democratic plot to make him look bad, as if he needs any assistance in that department. The president’s reliance on conspiracy theories, however typical, remains shocking in its departure from reality, negatively tweaking his already tanking approval rating.

We can easily imagine those numbers sinking even further given the likelihood that Trump’s assessment of climate change as a “hoax, invented by China” might be called into question, particularly in light of the unprecedented devastation Hurricane Florence continues to spread through the Carolinas.

Undaunted by televangelist and snake oil salesman Pat Robertson’s  “shield of protection,” the storm dumped rains of biblical proportion, inundating entire towns and cutting off major cities such as Wilmington, North Carolina.

On a visit there last week ostensibly to comfort victims, the president couldn’t help but seek personal comfort as well, enquiring about a lake northeast of Charlotte, which is coincidentally adjacent to one of his golf courses. Asking a local energy official, “How is Lake Norman doing?”, saying that he “loved that area” but suggesting ”I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.” As usual, Trump’s ham-fisted attempt at being adroitly subtle landed with a resounding thud, prompting groans from a public growing weary of his unparalleled self interest.

As the waters began to recede and late summer morphed into early fall, the severity of what unfolded in the Carolinas was only the latest in a series of hundred-year storms that climate scientists worry might mark the tipping point of global warming’s impact on the size and intensity of hurricanes and other weather phenomena such as heat waves and floods. A team of researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University have already determined that Florence was bigger and stronger – dropping 50 percent more rain – than it would have been had it occurred in a world without human-caused warming.

If that weren’t enough, Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, perceived as a slam dunk, playing to the Republican base and enhancing the GOP’s chances heading into November’s midterm elections, appears likely to accomplish the opposite. Allegations of sexual misconduct in prep school and again in college last week sent conservatives reeling with the Hobson’s choice of caving to Democratic demands for a delay or jamming the nomination through, risking electoral blowback, potentially squandering even their Senate majority.

How this all goes down remains to be seen but harbingers of a perilous road for Trump & Company seem to be everywhere. Carolinians find themselves still swamped with floodwaters reeking of hog feces, toxic chemicals and coal ash — all courtesy of the environmental deregulation so dear to the president; normal Americans wonder aloud if the GOP is seriously considering political suicide by going public with their war on women; and the very real possibility that Rod Rosenstein — who appointed Robert Mueller — might soon be headed for the exit, providing additional drama that the administration can ill afford.

While Vermont’s autumnal equinox came rumbling south on I-89 right on time, with blustery winds and falling temperatures abruptly ending one of the warmest summers anyone can remember, Washington’s political ruling class is beginning to feel the chill as well. The president, finally alone in his lifeboat, was uncharacteristically silent over the weekend, leading beltway pundits to speculate that perhaps White House staffers had him bound and gagged, strategically incommunicado somewhere in the West Wing until things blow over.

But conservatives 💵😈🎩 might do well to keep in mind that this will not blow over. Like the monumental storms we’ve seen over the past few years, it’s too damned big and unlikely to be the last one they see slowly churning their way. Summer may be gone but hurricane season is far from over.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 28, 2018, 10:39:20 pm »

Rancorous Senate Cmte Pushes Kavanaugh Nomination, FBI Will Investigate Accusations

September 28, 2018

Who believes what depends on what you believe in our divided nation. Political war wrapped in misogyny leads to one of history’s most explosive Senate confirmations

Story Transcript

MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you with us.

The crack in the chasm that divides America’s political and social beliefs were exposed in 1991, when Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court. The depth of that chasm erupted when Dr. Blasey Ford testified that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her 36 years ago. Her testimony was moving, powerful, and hard to refute. His testimony was angry, at times a tearful denial, whose spear was a political attack on the motivations of the Democrats he said were trying to destroy him, his reputation, and his family.

What gets lost at times in all this is the pivotal role the Supreme Court plays in how America defines itself in almost every political, social, and cultural context. Many thought Kavanaugh’s nomination was toast after Ford’s powerful testimony. But the anger of Judge Kavanaugh buoyed and his supporters on the committee and throughout America. They just took the vote this afternoon that sent Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor, and even that process was filled with conflict.

We’re joined once again by Lisa Graves, who is a senior fellow and former executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, until she became president of True North Research, and codirector of DocumentedInvestigations.org. I should say, Lisa, welcome, good to have you back.

LISA GRAVES: Thank you so much for having me.

MARC STEINER: So this has been a pretty stunning moment. I know I remember in 1991 covering and watching what happened when Anita Hill made her testimony, and how people dismissed her. And it was, it was a horrible thing to watch, what she went through. But now we have this. And it’s not so much redux as what I was saying earlier in the opening, as kind of really showing the chasm that we have in America over what we believe and how we believe it, what we see and don’t see, and how we interpret what we actually see.

LISA GRAVES: Well, I think that one of the things that should be, should be known to people is that, in fact, Dr. Ford has been treated far worse than Anita Hill was.

MARC STEINER: What do you mean by that?

LISA GRAVES: And what I mean by that is that when when Prof. Hill came forward she was permitted to have witnesses testify along with her to testify about the things that she told them, character witnesses for her, other people who who could talk about what they had heard. And so at that reopening of the hearing for Clarence Thomas, there were, I think, in total between his witnesses or her witnesses nearly 20 people who testified. And that testimony came on the heels of having the FBI go back out and interview witnesses. Now, not all the witnesses that might have been relevant then were allowed to testify. But a substantial number were. And it was treated as completely an uncontroversial matter to go back to the FBI and have them do the interviews that would help inform the Senate. The interviews are conducted on an impartial basis by freshly trained investigators who don’t have time constraints in, you know, not, like, five minute increments for questions, that sort of thing. They’re allowed to speak to witnesses and gather that information.

For Dr. Ford, Sen. Grassley refused the request by Democratic members of the Senate to go back to the FBI, as is the normal course of things in nominations, to do a supplemental background investigation. It happens all the time. It’s happened before in this year with other nominees. Has always been the norm, going back to at least the 1960s, for requests for the FBI supplemental to be relayed by the chairman and ranking member, and for the FBI to do that as a matter of course. Here with Dr. Ford there was a refusal to follow that process, and a refusal to allow other witnesses to testify, other witnesses that Dr. Ford asked to be heard, and other witnesses who have come forward to say that they, too, were mistreated by Brett Kavanaugh.

And so you had a setup yesterday that was much more like she said-he said, because it was structured to be precisely that. And there were no other witnesses, including one of the most relevant witnesses who have testified, Mark Judge. And so I think in that way, Dr. Ford was certainly treated worse than Anita Hill, as bad as that hearing was in terms of how Sen. Hatch and others went after Anita Hill back in 1991. That didn’t happen this time because the Republicans hid behind a prosecutor they hired only to question Dr. Ford, and barely to question Brett Kavanaugh. And so, you know, that’s why I think that she was treated worse.

Now, this morning we have new developments about that FBI investigation proceeding. And I think that’s a good thing for the Senate and for the country.

MARC STEINER: I want to come to that in a moment, about what could happen going forward. But it seems to me one of the things that Democrats in this process are being accused of by Republicans are interfering with the process and just trying to stymie this and end this nomination to the Supreme Court. But taking a step backwards over the last several years, the combination of McConnell and Grassley stopping Obama’s appointment at the end of his term, and the way some of this stuff has actually been railroaded through, it’s almost as if there’s nothing anybody can do about it. It just gets pushed forward. And pushed in any way that the leadership of the Senate seems to want to push it. And there’s Democratic pushback, but there’s very little it seems people can do to to stop McConnell or Grassley, McConnell really at this moment behind the scenes is pushing really hard to get this thing done quickly, though more may happen when it gets to the floor.

So this, what I’ve talking about earlier was this is a, this is a very serious political battle going on. And it’s about what happened with Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, but it’s even deeper than that.

LISA GRAVES: Well, you know, one of the things that people should remember if they haven’t heard is that Sen. McConnell, who’s the majority leader for the Senate, he’s a Republican elected from Kentucky, has said that his proudest moment in his entire tenure in the United States Senate was blocking Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, blocking him from ever even getting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, let alone a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, let alone a vote on the floor. He has called out that act of obstruction that left a vacancy on the Supreme Court for more than 400 days the high point of his entire Senate career.

And so, you know, this is an extremely, extremely partisan leader of the Senate; someone who then, when he has the chance now to install someone like Brett Kavanaugh, who is extremely controversial even apart from these very serious charges against him, and the evidence that has been made against him is extremely controversial, and even McConnell has been determined to rush him through as quickly as possible. Even promising outside special interest groups that he would deliver Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. One of those groups he spoke to her a week ago was is the Family Research Council Action. FRC Action is the group that was created, basically part of the evangelical movement, but it’s not just that. It’s a group that has received substantial funds through the Koch’s Freedom Partners operation to pass through LLCs that have names like ORRA LLC, An [Evange] for Change LLC, in order to basically distort the elections in this country.

So there are some substantial things going on behind the scenes where McConnell is more than happy to delay for any amount of time a Democratic nominee to the Supreme Court, but will not brook even minimal delay to get the truth- in fact wants to stop any real effort to get the truth- about Kavanaugh in the record. He wants to put him on the court before that truth and more truth can come out. Today it appears that he’s been stymied in that, because it doesn’t look like he has the votes to ram Kavanaugh through the Supreme Court without allowing an FBI investigation for at least a week to look into the charges against Brett Kavanaugh, that he would not necessarily have the votes to proceed. But we’ll see over the next couple days what happens.

But McConnell is a person who basically is using raw power, naked partisan power, to try to distort the U.S. Supreme Court, make it into a vehicle for his funders, his donors, his base, and in fact really twist the court for the next 20 or 30 years, were Kavanaugh confirmed, to [inaudible] what he wants.

MARC STEINER: I’m sorry.

LISA GRAVES: Yes, no problem. You know, I was on a roll there, but that’s okay. I appreciate the intervention.

MARC STEINER: So there are two things I want to kind of wrestle with here, before we, before we go. I want to first play this quick clip. And this is a clip of the end of today’s hearings as the vote was about to be taken. And you’ll hear what Senator Flake had to say, and we’re going to come back and talk a bit about what a weeklong FBI investigation could do, but then also examine what’s really at stake here with the Supreme Court that I was alluding to at the beginning of this, and what Lisa was just talking about, as well. But let’s check this out, first.

JEFF FLAKE: … for up to but not more than one week, in order to let the FBI continue to do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there, and limit in time to no more than one week. And I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding. And I’ve spoken to a few other members who are on my side of the aisle that may be supportive as well. But that’s my position.

MARC STEINER: So, Lisa, I mean, you know- I, over the course of my life I’ve, I’ve had interactions the FBI, given the work that sometimes I’ve done over the years. So I’m just curious, from your perspective, what can they accomplish in a week?

LISA GRAVES: Well, of course I’d prefer they had as much time as they needed and not an artificial limit. But in fact they can seek to interview Mark Judge, they can try to determine the location of the assault that Dr. Ford has described, they can validate her statements about knowing Mark Judge and where he worked, and things of that nature. And I think that they can also interview other students about- other students from that time, other alumni from that time about Brett Kavanaugh’s claims regarding his sort of choir boy behavior that summer, which he sort of put forward as, in essence, an alibi that he couldn’t, couldn’t do this; that, you know, his calendar, so to speak.

And so I think there’s there are things the FBI could do. I don’t know that it would be conclusive, but it would certainly be more thorough than what Sen. Grassley has allowed, which is basically extreme partisan action by his counsel and a refusal to even have witnesses be asked questions by federal law enforcement as part of a supplemental background investigation. To take Mark Judge’s letter at face without any examination, you know, it’s really an unacceptable way to proceed when the matters are so serious and when, when in essence we’re being faced with the choice, or in essence, the effort to install someone into the U.S. Supreme Court where there is credible evidence, eyewitness testimony has been given, that he sexually assaulted a young woman.

MARC STEINER: To me it’s kind of stunning that the way we can look at this same, the same event, and see it very differently. And you, when we saw the testimony of Dr. Ford, but then saw the testimony later of Judge Kavanaugh, and it just … It was clear that people are going to see what they want to see in this. And I think some of the deeper issues here, besides the misogyny that runs very deep in all of this is that you can speak to, is also what’s at stake here for the future of the court and the future of the country.

LISA GRAVES: Well, I think that’s right. I also think it’s important to understand motives. As I’ve said, Dr. Ford has everything to lose by coming forward and telling the truth. She’s lost her privacy. She might not even be able to return to her house and live peacefully. Who knows about her security in her teaching role. Brett Kavanaugh has everything to gain by lying, by obstructing, and by yelling about what has been charged against him. In fact, there’s an old saying by trial lawyers that if you don’t have the facts, argue the law; if you don’t have the law, argue the facts; and if the facts and law are against you, yell like hell and pound the table. And that’s what we saw yesterday. I don’t think that’s convincing. It’s certainly convincing, I suppose, to some people. But it’s not evidence.

MARC STEINER: It’s always really enlightening to talk to you, Lisa. I appreciate you taking the time with us once again, and look forward as this unfolds over the next whatever that’s going to be, week, two weeks, in the U.S. Senate and how that plays out to hear your analysis and reflections. Thank you so much for joining us.

LISA GRAVES: Thank you for having me on. It’s a pleasure to be on your show.

MARC STEINER: Always good to have you with us. And I’m Marc Steiner for The Real News Network. We’ll be focusing like a laser beam on this nomination process and what happens. We have more to come. Thank you all for joining us again, once again, at The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Take care.

Related Bios Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and publisher of ExposedByCMD.org and PRWatch.org. CMD is a national watchdog group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 28, 2018, 06:34:06 pm »

BobCon says:

September 28, 2018 at 10:01 am

During the 1930s, the Supreme Court notoriously struck down New Deal laws over and over on the weakest justification.

It took the the threat of Roosevelt packing the Court with non-ideologues to get the conservatives to back off from their activism.

I think it’s fair to say this bunch will never back off. 😱 It will take court packing, impeachment, and/or a lucky set of vacancies to drive this majority 🐉🦕👹🦖🦍 off the bench, and then years to reverse the illogical, anti-historical, anti-precedent, flat out crazy rulings they will issue. Right to privacy, one man one vote, equal protection, basic elements of the Bill of Rights, these things all have targets on their backs.


Read more:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 28, 2018, 03:00:32 pm »

Allison Holland says:
September 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm
my husband was an alcoholic. i believe kavanaugh is an alcoholic as well. the melt down that was witnessedby the world yesterday was that of a dry drunk. he hasnt been drinking and hes angry. very angry that he has been forced to stay dry. i have seen it many times.
and about the calander. it is a teenager’s ruse. it was for his parents and a joke at his fathers. he put stuff in there for them. he wrote pre alibis. we all did stuff like that..the fake diary. the fake letters in the mail for snoopy parents. even the fake phone conversations. its such a ruse that the has world has fallen for. its a joke and i think it even upsets him because he cant tell anyone how funny it is.
one thing alcoholics do is lie for seemingly no reason. they just lie. little lies that cover up the real lie they are covering up. their whole lives are lies and they know it so the shell cant get ****. and besides there is nothing wrong with it, right ? he was looking for comrades. you drink right senator ? you drink too right prosecutor ? everybody drinks but prissy wives who get mad when we all drink. right ? he was desperate for affirmation that yes everybody secretly drinks just like he does. people saw the stone sad face of his wife. she needs him to get this job. i’ve been there. if he doesnt get this job her life and that of her childrens will be a living hell worse than it already is. he is a mean drunk who likes to drink a lot of the time. all of the time. her facial muscles seemed unreal to many. it was so frozen. but that is the state of the wife of a beligerent drunk. we freeze when the phone rings. we freeze when it doesnt. we freeze before he can slam the door shut after a hard days work before hes had the comfort of the booze and we stay frozen until he sleeps. and she is catholic. she cannot divorce. she is resigned. what you saw in the tiny muscles of her life behind the mask was pride in resilience and fear as to where that resilience might lead her.

Anon says:
September 28, 2018 at 12:56 pm
Wow, I actually had to take a walk around the room after reading what you wrote. In part because the hell you describe is terrifying though I’ve known of people who have been through it. But also because as I look back on her picture I see what you see and I realize that it was right there in front of me. I just skipped over it. I was focusing on the loud drunk in front and not on the terrified lives behind him.

I’m very sorry to hear what you suffered.

Bruce Olsen says:
September 28, 2018 at 2:10 pm
I’ve posted a similar comment a couple of times; As an alcoholic I’m certain he’s also alcoholic.

His performance was exactly like a failed intervention. Textbook denial and deflection.

I’m surprised nobody with a platform and expertise in substance use disorder hasn’t pointed this out.

Allison has added many more details than I had time to add, but they are 100% spot on.

One disagreement: I don’t think the calendar needs to be interpreted as part of the alcoholic’s ruse. The entries clearly lack some candor, but it’s unlikely at that age he had begun to construct the elaborate facade that long-term sufferers of substance use disorder often construct. Depends on when he started drinking, and there’s no evidence it began much before the, ummm, alleged incident.

But thanks for writing that, Allison. It’s a very accurate description of an alcoholic’s common behaviors. I’m not convinced he’s a dry drunk, but he certainly can’t seek help now even if he wanted to.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 28, 2018, 01:46:02 pm »


September 28, 2018/52 Comments/in Law /by emptywheel 

This may sound counterintuitive. But the Republican-led whitewash hearing into allegations that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted Christine Blasey Ford actually ended up supporting her case, not Kavanaugh’s.


As bmaz noted, the Republicans hired a skirt: Maricopa sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.

Mitchell conducted all of the questioning — save one impetuous outburst from Lindsey Graham — of Ford. And Mitchell tried diligently to challenge Ford’s account. She started by asking Ford to review all her statements and correct and inconsistencies in her past statements, something she did not do thoroughly with Kavanaugh. She then challenged Ford’s story in a few places, first by shadowing the Ed Whelan theory that the house in question must belong to the parents of Kavanaugh’s doppelganger, Chris Garrett (later testimony would make clear Garrett was how Ford first got introduced to the Kavanaugh crowd); Ford dismissed that by answering that the house in question might be in a broader area. Mitchell tried to suggest that Ford’s symptoms — including PTSD and anxiety — might come from other reasons; but because this is Ford’s academic expertise, Ford swatted those away with science. Mitchell made much of the fact that Ford declined to travel to DC in spite of her dislike of air travel, even though she travels for a yearly family visit and vacations. Mitchell also tried to insinuate that some political actors either coached her or paid for Ford’s polygraph, but Ford’s lawyers pointed out they had paid for it, as is the norm. And Ford’s own timeline simply didn’t support the claim she was politically coached. Mitchell invented a claim, out of an indistinct claim by Ford, that she had wanted to keep her testimony confidential up until the original hearing. In the end, Mitchell got Ford to admit — relying on her expertise — that five minute sessions like this hearing weren’t the best way to get the truth from victims of trauma, which would seem to support a longer investigation, not the kind of hearing Mitchell had been paid to star in.

Ford withstood all those questions with grace (and the timely intervention of her attorneys).


Chuck Grassley unwisely let each witness take as much time as they wanted for opening statements.

After Ford took a normal amount of time, Kavanaugh, bidding for Trump’s support, took a full 45 minutes for his statement.

His statement was delivered shrilly, with an angry red face, just short of screaming. Coming after hours of testimony he was sometimes a violent drunk, Kavanaugh looked during his statement like the drunk you avoid in the parking lot of a bar, because it’s just not worthwhile human interaction. I don’t rule out him drinking while watching Ford’s testimony, nor did others.

In short, Kavanaugh looked like a guy who could not manage rage, just as numerous witnesses had described him being as as a drunk.


One reason Ford repeatedly said she’d like an FBI interview is because she assumed that if she could date an exchange she had with Mark Judge after her assault, she might be able to narrow down when the actual event occurred. Republicans want to avoid having Judge’s public comments about drunken debauchery in the time period reviewed by any credible questioner.

Judge has written about that in his book, describing working at the local Safeway for a few weeks to pay for Football camp.

According to Kavanaugh’s calendar, football camp started on August 23 that year.

Ford testified that her exchange with Judge took place 6 to 8 weeks after the incident.

Ford: We had always been friendly with one another. I wouldn’t characterize him as not friendly. He looked ill. Says it happened 6-8 weeks after the incident.

If Judge was working for the few weeks prior to Football camp to pay for it and his and Kavanaugh’s exchange with Ford happened 6 to 8  weeks earlier, that would put the assault in early July.

That would mean this entry, for an event on Thursday, July 1, 1982, in Kavanaugh’s calendar would be solidly within that range.


And Kavanaugh’s testimony actually supports Ford.

Start with the claim, in his opening rant, that he usually only drank on weekends. That makes no sense because Judge’s book about the period describes being dysfunctionally hungover routinely while he worked at the Potomac Safeway to earn money for Football camp.

Kavanaugh claims this had to be a weekend bc they all worked. But Judge said he routinely went to work badly hungover.

Then Mitchell started questioning Kavanaugh. She started by asking him to review the definition of sexual assault, as she asked Ford to do. Kavanaugh got a weird set to his lips.

Shortly thereafter, she turned to his calendar, getting him to confirm that he wrote everything in there. In her next round, Mitchell’s first questions were about the July 1 entry. After filibustering about the earlier workout session (about which he wasn’t asked), Kavanaugh admitted that the entry showed he got together at Tim Gaudet’s —  with Mark Judge and PJ Smith — and Chris Garrett, whose nickname is Squi.

In other words, Kavanaugh confirmed he was at a small gathering with the boys Ford said were there, as well as the guy who had introduced her to these boys.

Durbin’s questioning followed, after which Lindsey Graham took over questioning from Mitchell and went on a tear, calling it an unethical sham. Having gotten Kavanaugh to identify a get-together that matched Ford’s description, Mitchell was done questioning for the day.

Effectively, the GOP hired a prosecutor to question a victim, but decided the alleged perpetrator could not withstand the same prosecutor’s questions as soon as she had him identify a get-together that resembled the one described by Ford.


One problem with Kavanaugh’s testimony is that he and his alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, are reported to be blackout drunks. Judge even wrote a book admitting to the fact. So Kavanaugh went to some lengths trying to avoid admitting that he had ever blacked out, even while he admitted, “I like beer,” over and over.

The first came, in her first round, when Mitchell asked Kavanaugh what he considered too many beers.

Mitchell: What do you consider to be too many beers?

Kav: I don’t know, whatever the chart says.


Mitchell: Have you ever passed out from drinking?

Kav: Passed out would be no, but I’ve gone to sleep. I’ve never blacked out. That’s the allegation, and that’s wrong.

That’s when Republican Senators started to look worried. They gave Kavanaugh one of his three lifeline breaks.

Kavanaugh repeatedly dismissed his freshman roommate’s claim that he was a shy man who became belligerent after drinking by pointing to the squabble that one freshman roommate had with another, as if the normal animus between freshman roommates makes the observation of one invalid.

Finally, Blumenthal raised an incident from college that Kavanaugh had admitted he didn’t recall, only to have Kavanaugh insist he remembered all of it.

Let me ask you this. In a speech that you gave, you described, quote, falling out of the bus onto the front steps of the Yale Law School, at 4:45 AM.

Kavanaugh interrupted to try to prevent Blumenthal from finishing the quote.

The quote ends that you tried to piece things back together, end quote, to recall what happened that night. Meaning?

I know what happened. I know what happened that night.

The appellate court judge actually didn’t claim that he remembered it, just that he knows what happened.


As a reminder, Ford alleges that Brett Kavanaugh tried to r a p e her in the presence of admitted dead drunk Mark Judge. Republicans refused to call Judge over and over.

Then Kavanaugh refused to answer questions about Judge’s own accounts of the period. In response to a question from Patrick Leahy about whether he was the drunk described as Bart O’Kavanaugh in Judge’s book, Kavanaugh refused to answer.

3rd Q: Are you Bart O’Kavanaugh.

Kav: not answering.

Kav finally says, “you’d have to ask him.” Which is the point.

Blumenthal noted to Kavanaugh that Judge’s statement was just six cursory and conclusory sentences signed by Judge’s lawyer, not a sworn statement.

So here’s what we saw yesterday: Christine Blasey Ford was unflappable and consistent. By comparison, Kavanaugh — at least in his statement — appeared to be precisely what he denied he was. His denials that he was a blackout drunk (and therefore that he assaulted Ford but didn’t remember it) were not credible and stopped well short of supporting his claim. And his own calendar, and the Republicans own prosecutor, identified a get-together that matches the time and attendees identified by Ford.

The GOP tried to set up a whitewash of this evidence. But instead, it failed, and they were left with screaming men.

And that won’t stop them from voting out his nomination.

Tags: Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford, Ed Whelan, Lindsey Graham, Patrick Leahy, Richard Blumenthal

Agelbert NOTE: Don't miss the comments. The principled lawyers commenting there know their law.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 27, 2018, 02:02:52 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: These comments display an in depth knowledge of the truth. 

Unlike the wise people making the following comments, too many in the U.S. refuse to accept the horrific level of corruption in the U.S. Government.

Rapier says:
September 27, 2018 at 10:58 am
I really hate to say this but does anyone care to dispute the general argument that “: that by letting our Middle Eastern allies arm al Qaeda-allied fighters, the Obama Administration created the mess that is in Syria.

Qatar and the Saudis each put between $1bn and $3bn into recruiting, transporting, outfitting and paying jihadis from the entire Muslim world, many of them non Syrians from as far away as Chechnya and Malaysia. From 2012 on we were were presented serial lists of ‘moderate’ ‘rebels’ fighting Assad.  I am not going to wade in on “al Qaeda-allied fighters”  but  the idea that any of them intended to participate in a representative democratic form of government is, not put too fine a point on it, nuts.

Since virtually nobody within 2 degrees of policy power in the US would consider anything but that ‘Assad must go’ by any means necessary we ended up with Trump and his crew of grifters making the case and trying to adjust policy, or what passes for policy in the Trump administration. Which has  now made any debate on the use of jihad to advance US policy even more impossible. Which perfectly mirrors  the US-Russia relationship post NATO expansion.

Far be it for me to argue Trump isn’t a fruitcake but at root plenty of his gut instincts are rational or rational enough to deserve debate.  The thing is he doesn’t debate or make his case. He stomps his feet and creates, or tries to, another reality via a ragtag group of grifters and necromancers.

Doctor My Eyes says:
September 27, 2018 at 11:14 am
Thanks for this comment.  The corruption runs so deep that it’s hard to find a place to stand.  Why not start with the US supporting the Taliban as a way to stick it to Russia? Hard to put a pro-democracy spin on that one.  What part did the successful impoverishment of Russia play in the rise of the Russian mob? We have Special Ops forces in countries around the world. We’ve been toppling democratic regimes the world over for decades.  Where are we to stand in objecting to what Russia is doing to us? We grasp for integrity but scarcely know what it looks like. Still, I don’t believe for a second that Trump has even a glimmer of understanding about the mistakes of using al qaeda associated fighters.  I assume he was saying  these things as a reason for giving Syria to Russia. And that is all. There is no more integrity to Trump’s “thinking” than there is to the thinking of the decades of US policy-makers who cover imperialism with a thin veil of human rights and democracy.

Watson says:
September 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm
Putin’s hold over our president apparently results from Trump’s having solved his persistent cash flow problems by laundering money for entities in the murky inter-penetrated world of Russia’s security sector and Russian organized crime.
Nonetheless, the greater evil in Syria is the terrorist fundamentalist Islamist opposition dominated under various noms de guerre by al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Assad regime in Syria is a corrupt, autocratic police state. It resembles Uncle Sam’s ally in Egypt, the al Sisi regime, although both of those governments share the virtue of being non-sectarian; and neither is as abhorrent as the fanatical, terror-exporting, vampiric petro-monarchy run by Bush/Obama/Trump’s sword-dancing soul mates in Saudi Arabia.
US hostility to Syria has nothing to do with democracy promotion or human rights. Syria has been in the neocons’ cross-hairs for decades because it has been a foe of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and an ally of Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah.

Doctor My Eyes says:
September 27, 2018 at 11:03 am
Am I wrong to view all of this in the context of “how Simeon Megolivic came to own the US”? Wasn’t cooperation with the Russians part of Flynn’s transition activity? I guess Christie was merely associated with the mob in New Jersey. I don’t have nearly the command of detail exhibited here, but I keep focusing on Russia as the primary actor behind so many manipulations.  Where did the decision to bring Flynn on originate? The Russian mob infiltrates.  That’s what they do.  They have infiltrated our government.  This is the enemy we are fighting.  Does Kavanaugh seem like someone with exposure to kompromat? Pence? I would love to be reassured on this point.  I’m losing sleep over it.

BobCon says:
September 27, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Not that this is reassuring, but I think it makes sense to view GOP politics as run by a coalition of oligarchs, rather than just Putin. You have Murdoch, Koch, Adelson and some others deeper in the weeds I don’t know, along with a second tier jockeying for front row seats.

Putin is a factor, to be sure, but I think it makes sense to view him as a major bidder rather than someone with a monopoly.

Read more:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 26, 2018, 08:19:29 pm »

Donald Trump’s Last Day at Work: A Fable

  By Tom Lewis | August 5, 2018 | Politics

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (at article link)

This is a story, boys and girls, about how Donald Trump’s world could end — not with a bang, but a whimper. 

It’s a balmy September day in Washington when John Kelly bursts into the oval office to blurt, “Mr. President, Robert Mueller is here. He wants to speak with you.”

“What?” says the president. “We told him I don’t have to talk to him. I’m the President. He can’t make me.”

“Yes sir. He doesn’t want to discuss the investigation, He says it’s over. It’s shutting down today, and he’s here to say goodbye.”

“Oh. Good. Well, then, bring him in.”

Robert Mueller enters, wheeling a suitcase full of papers. “Mr. President, my work is concluded and I thought it appropriate to show you the results.” He opens the suitcase and lifts out a couple of two-foot stacks of papers. “These are the summaries of indictments returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia charging you with 72 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit these crimes and obstruction of justice.” 😀

“See,” says the president, “There was no collusion. And you can’t indict a president.”

“Well,” replies Mueller, “I think you’ve been misinformed on both counts. There was plenty of collusion, but in most cases you can’t prosecute stupid. As for indicting a sitting president, we can and we will, because this is a republic in which no man is above the law, but we recognize that it’s going to be a long fight, and that’s why I brought some other things to show you.

“These,” and he hauls out three one-foot stacks of papers, “are indictments returned against your son Don, Jr., your daughter Ivanka, and your son-in-law Jared Kushner. Same crimes — tax evasion, bank fraud, money laundering for Russian criminals, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. Each of these individuals is facing 40-60 years in prison, and none of them can claim to be a sitting president.

“By the way, sir, if you did somehow convince the Supreme Court that a sitting president is immune to prosecution, there will be FBI agents waiting for you at the foot of the dais the day your successor is sworn in.

“But here’s what we are prepared to suggest. You seem upset by the prospect of your family going to prison — and by the way, we’ve found enough irregularities in Melania’s immigration status to deport her. And I understand that any father and husband would want to protect his family.

“So here’s what you do, sir. You present your letter of resignation to the secretary of state by close of business tomorrow, and all of this goes away, we will agree to nolle prosse all of these indictments, and we will consider it a good deal for the United States.”

And that, boys and girls, was Donald Trump’s last day at work as president. Then, Mr, Mueller went to see vice president Mike Pence. But that’s a story for another night. Good night, boys and girls. Sweet dreams.

Tagged Donald Trump, impeachment, Mueller. Bookmark the permalink.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 26, 2018, 05:56:52 pm »


September 26, 2018

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick have all accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, but Senate Republicans are ignoring their allegations and rushing to confirm him to the Supreme Court anyway.

This   is what the Republican Party has become.

Watch our new video, then add your name to say that you believe Dr. Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick.   

In solidarity,
Eve Tyler
Need to Impeach

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 25, 2018, 10:02:42 pm »

Trump’s 🦀 ‘Dissociation from Reality’ at UN

September 25, 2018

President Trump had the opportunity to address the UN General Assembly opening for the second time, which he used to brag and lie, says Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute for Policy Studies

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 25, 2018, 06:16:56 pm »

As Rosenstein Stays, What Can Manafort Give Mueller?

September 25, 2018

After widespread speculation that he was on the outs, Rod Rosenstein is still on the job. The uncertainty over his future comes amid a flurry of activity in the Mueller probe that he oversees, including the plea deal of Paul Manafort. Author Craig Unger joins Aaron Maté to discuss Rosenstein’s plight and whether Manafort’s lobbying work in Ukraine could tie him to the long-suspected Russian collusion plot


  Agelbert COMMENT: ALL these comments were censored.  >:(

agelbert  Babyl-on  6 minutes ago
How many times does an erudite person of note, like Author Craig Unger, have to reference the money trail from the Russian oligarchs/mafia for you to be able to add two and two to get Trump/Russia Collusion four?


FOLLOW THE MONEY! What part of that do you find so "unlikely", Mr. Russian Troll?

agelbert SnowPyramid  14 minutes ago

agelbert  Howie Lisnoff  15 minutes ago

agelbert  Ted Parker  16 minutes ago

Detected as spam 😈 Thanks, we'll work on getting this corrected.

agelbert  Sarastro92 17 minutes ago
Manafort AND Trump are both tools of Russia, PERIOD!

agelbert  18 minutes ago

Mr. Maté, Your behavior towards Emptywheel and your behavior towards Author Craig Unger shows an inexcusable aversion to accepting the FACT that the Russian Oligarchy is WELL OVER 50% RESPONSIBLE for putting Trump in office. You just cannot handle that, can you? You are 100% WRONG in your endless attempts to claim that the evidence of Russian influence on U.S. affairs/elections is a propaganda diversion from the real problem of the systemic and massive corruption within the U.S. that has transformed our government into a Koch Brothers/Exxon/Chevron/etc. PETRO-STATE based oligarchy as well.

It's time that you stopped beating that dead horse, Aaron. Sure, out government is rotten to the Koch Brothers core. AND? The issue here is competition between two petro-state fascist oligarchies, neither of which give a tinker's patuty about the Catastrophic climate Change they are foisting on the entire biosphere , PERIOD!

If you cannot wrap your head around that, you are being willfully blind. The "Russian influence ain't the significant problem" DOG is not gonna hunt, pal. Trump would not BE THERE if it wasn't for Putin and his Russian Mafia team, PERIOD!

I'm sure there are plenty of Russian trolls, like several who have posted here today, that will give you lots of ata-boys for your willful blindness and consistent belligerence towards those pointing the well deserved finger at Russian intelligence/mafia. Good luck with that.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 25, 2018, 01:13:09 pm »

Senator Collins of Maine has been warned by the good people of Maine. She either votes NO on the Kavanaugh CROOK/PERVERT or she is TOAST!

Mainers have a Message for Senator Collins
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 24, 2018, 12:10:06 pm »

I want to vomit

Bill Palmer | 12:04 am EDT September 24, 2018

Palmer Report » Opinion

When the buzz began on Sunday night that one or more additional accusers were about to come forward against Brett Kavanaugh, I found myself momentarily excited. After all, this nomination needs to be killed off for the sanctity of democracy in general, and for the safety and well being of women everywhere. Then the stories surfaced. I’ve been reading, studying, researching, and writing about these new developments for the past few hours – and now I want to vomit.

These stories are simply horrifying. Deborah Ramirez says that Brett Kavanaugh subjected her to sexual assault at a drunken college party. This comes after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said that Kavanaugh subjected her to attempted r a p e at a drunken high school party. See the pattern here? If these two women are both telling the truth, and why wouldn’t they be, how many more women were subjected to this sort of thing by Kavanaugh? How many more of his victims are out there who are afraid or unable to come forward? Then it somehow got even worse.

Michael Avenatti announced that he has multiple witnesses who want to testify before Congress that Brett Kavanaugh and his friends arranged parties in their youth for the specific purpose of getting women drunk and high so they could gang r a p e them. If this proves to be true, then just how many women has Kavanaugh r a p e d ? Five? Ten? Fifty? These aren’t just numbers; these women are real people whose lives have been ruined by this maniac and the surrounding culture which allowed him to get away with it.

Yeah, this is “good news” in the sense that it puts us much closer to keeping a corrupt monster off the Supreme Court, which in turn puts us closer to ousting the corrupt monster who occupies the Oval Office. But there’s nothing to celebrate here. I feel physically ill just from reading these revelations, and I’m not a woman. I don’t have to live in fear that someone like Kavanaugh might do something like this to me in the future, or have to relive the memories of someone like Kavanaugh having done something like this to me in the past. I can’t begin to imagine what women are feeling tonight.

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Agelbert OBSERVATION: Kavanaugh is a walking, taking example of MENS REA (with malice aforethought) modus operandi in thought, word and deed.

Kavanaugh is, like Trump🦀, a symptom of our disease, not the disiease. The disease is the rampant fascist corruption in our government.

From the DINOs, who pretend to be Democrats in order to fool people of good will into voting for them, to the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who, in MENS REA fashion, DID THE FOLLOWING:

Farrow and Mayer are reporting that last week, Senate Republicans learned about Ramirez’s accusations. How did they respond? They “issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.” In other words, they tried to bury it by ramming Kavanaugh through before it could become public and sink the nomination.

So now we know that the Republican Senators attempted to withhold critical and potentially criminal information about their Supreme Court nominee from the public.

Mammon worshipping reprobates, who's every breath is exemplified by MENS REA, have taken over the U.S. Government.

We bring ("restore" or "bring back" are both not the correct verb or term because our government was elitist and greed based from the start!  >:() respect for our fellow humans (and the biosphere that enables humans and millions of other species to survive and thrive) to our government, as Jesus Christ Commanded, or we are doomed to destruction, PERIOD.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 23, 2018, 07:05:35 pm »

Justice Is Blind ... Drunk (Video)

September 23, 2018

By Mark Fiore —  Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is hanging in the balance after Christine Blasey Ford accuses him of sexual assault when they were teenagers.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 21, 2018, 09:36:14 pm »


September 21, 2018  39 Comments/ in Law / by emptywheel

Over the last week, some pretty curious character witnesses have come out to insist that Brett Kavanaugh is a nice man who would never sexually assault someone else.

First, there’s Ken Starr, who judged that Christine Blasey Ford had had her opportunity to come forward and had not done so, and so “the matter has adjourned.”

As someone who’s interested in process and fairness, obviously any allegation of this nature is an unfortunate serious allegation, but to be honest, I was outraged about the timing, as well as the process, that the letter, about something long ago, was in the hands of — you covered it very well — of the Democrats in July, and yet there is nothing done about this. I just think it’s too late for there to be any serious consideration at this stage. The matter has adjourned. You had your opportunity to come forward and you failed to do that year after year after year.

Starr was forced to resign as president of Baylor University in 2016 for his role in covering up sexual assault committed by members of the football team. The report that led to his firing specifically talked about a culture of victim-blaming on behalf of administrators.

In addition, the investigations were conducted in the context of a broader culture and belief by many administrators that sexual violence “doesn’t happen here.” Administrators engaged in conduct that could be perceived as victim-blaming, focusing on the complainant’s choices and actions, rather than robustly investigating the allegations, including the actions of the respondent.

Then, yesterday, Bill Shine said that the White House stands by Kavanaugh 100%.

“We stand behind Judge Kavanaugh 100 percent,” Bill Shine, deputy WH chief of staff for communications, told us a few minutes ago in the Rose Garden. He did not say whether Kavanaugh should testify alone on Monday.

Shine was forced to resign from Fox News in 2017 after he was accused of attacking the victims of Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment.

In a case settled in December (the dollar figure is under wraps), Shine was accused of retaliating against a woman who declined to have a sexual relationship with Ailes. In another lawsuit, a woman who complained to Shine about Ailes’ behavior said he told her that he was “a very powerful man” and that she “needed to let this one go.” A third woman, who said she was psychologically tortured by Ailes for 20 years, was, at one point sent to live in a hotel for six weeks where senior leaders at Fox could “monitor” her. She claims that Shine reviewed all of her emails, which he 😈 denies.

Finally, this morning, Donald Trump joined in, both defending Kavanaugh’s honesty and (echoing Starr’s line) suggesting that because Ford didn’t file a police report, the attack must not have happened.

This defense of an alleged abuser mirrors the ones Trump made for Rob Porter 👹, in which he complained that mere allegations shattered his life before hailing the good job he did at the White House.

We found out about it recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job when he was at the White House.

According to Bob Woodward’s book (which relied heavily on Porter as a source), Kavanaugh recommended Porter for his old position as Staff Secretary.

And also the defense he mounted for Roy Moore 😈, where he emphasized Moore’s denials even while continuing to campaign for him.

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And look, you have to look at him also.”

To be sure, with Kavanaugh there’s no hint of serial abuse, as there was when Trump took the side of both Porter and Moore. Which is why Republicans should be really cautious about who comes out in defense of Kavanaugh. Because his character witnesses ( 😈 👹 ) damn him as much as his unconvincing denials.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 20, 2018, 08:30:47 am »


September 19, 2018/108 Comments/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel

Robert Mueller has a slew of really good lawyers working for him. But I think his biggest asset is Donald Trump’s bubble. ;D

Consider this NYT story, in which a bunch of lawyers anonymously blame each other for getting 16 months into the Special Counsel investigation without ever figuring out what the President did.  ;)

The lawyers have only a limited sense of what many witnesses — including senior administration officials and the president’s business associates — have told investigators and what the Justice Department plans to do with any incriminating information it has about Mr. Trump, according to interviews with more than a dozen people close to the president.

What is more, it is not clear if Mr. Trump has given his lawyers a full account of some key events in which he has been involved as president or during his decades running the Trump Organization.


Mr. Dowd took Mr. Trump at his word that he had done nothing wrong and never conducted a full internal investigation to determine the president’s true legal exposure.


And once Mr. Dowd was gone, the new legal team had to spend at least 20 hours interviewing the president about the episodes under investigation, another necessary step Mr. Dowd and his associates had apparently not completed.

In spite of the effort to blame all this on Dowd, the NYT article provides abundant evidence (which they, in typical Maggie and Mike fashion, don’t seem aware of) that Trump’s lawyers continue to be clueless.

There’s the notion that just 20 hours of Trump interviews would be sufficient for nailing down the actual story. Don McGahn, after all, has had 30 hours of interviews with Mueller’s team, and while he has played several central roles, he’s not the principal. And, unlike Trump, he can and presumably did tell a mostly consistent story.

There’s the admission that Trump’s lawyers actually don’t know how ten senior officials testified.

During Mr. Dowd’s tenure, prosecutors interviewed at least 10 senior administration officials without Mr. Trump’s lawyers first learning what the witnesses planned to say, or debriefing their lawyers afterward — a basic step that could have given the president’s lawyers a view into what Mr. Mueller had learned.

Complain all you want that Dowd didn’t obstruct competently. But the Joint Defense Agreement (the one that gave Rudy no advance warning that Paul Manafort had flipped on the President) is what Rudy has always pointed to to justify his confidence that Trump is not at any risk. So Rudy is, by the standards of the anonymous people leaking to Maggie and Mike, just as incompetent.

Perhaps best of all is the claim of an anonymous Maggie and Mike source that poor Jay Sekulow was left to clean up after Dowd’s, and only Dowd’s, mistakes.

In March, Mr. Dowd resigned, telling associates that he disagreed with the president’s desire to sit for an interview with Mr. Mueller — one form of cooperation he opposed — and leaving Mr. Sekulow with the task of rebuilding the legal team from scratch, and without knowing many of the details of the case. Mr. Dowd left few notes or files about the case, which had to be recreated months after the fact.

Somehow, Ty Cobb, the guy brought in after Marc Kasowitz left amid concerns that Trump was obstructing justice, who oversaw responding to discovery requests and who was initially celebrated as being very aggressive, gets no blame. Cobb was the guy who put McGahn in a defensive crouch — leading directly to 20 of his 30 hours of testimony — after blabbing in public about him hiding documents.

Crazier still, Jay Sekulow gets no blame in this narrative, even though Sekulow was around during all of Dowd’s purportedly mistaken decisions. As recently as March, Sekulow was quite confident that his undeniable expertise in litigating the right wing’s ressentiment prepared him to deal with the challenges of a Special Counsel investigation.

When Jay Sekulow joined President Donald Trump’s legal team for the Russia investigation last summer, he was largely expected to serve as the public face of the group. But after former lead attorney John Dowd resigned last week, and with other top lawyers reportedly reluctant to join the team, Sekulow is now the key player in one of the most high-stakes investigations in the world.

“I have maintained since the beginning of the representation that my interest is representing the client,” Sekulow tells TIME. “And it may take different forms at different times, and we’re just right now in a different phase.”


Peter Flaherty, who worked for Romney on both campaigns and has known Sekulow for more than a decade, offers effusive praise for Sekulow that draws on the world of Boston sports.

“Jay is a combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, wrapped into one super-lawyer,” Flaherty says, citing the New England Patriots’ coach and quarterback. “He is capable of both devising successful strategy in a conference room, as well as being able to execute it in a courtroom.”

Critics say that legal expertise in high-minded constitutional issues won’t translate well to the guts of a criminal case. But Sekulow says he feels his “broad background” in the law has prepared him for the current challenge, citing a recent case he worked on in which the IRS admitted to unfairly scrutinizing tax forms of conservative groups.

In the wake of Manafort’s plea deal, Sekulow seems less certain he’s got control of the situation.

Here’s the thing though. This is a 2,100-word story presented as truth, disclosing evidence (albeit unacknowledged) that the lawyers who have serially managed press outreach (Sekulow, then Rudy) are clueless. It repeats, as Maggie and Mike always do, two key threads of the spin from these men: that Trump’s only exposure is obstruction and that the end result will be a report.

[Manafort’s] plea brings to four the number of former close associates of Mr. Trump who have agreed to cooperate with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election and obstruction of justice by the president.

And while Mr. Trump’s lawyers insist Mr. Mueller has nothing on their client about colluding with Russia, they are bracing for him to write a damaging report to Congress about whether the president obstructed justice.


The sense of unease among the president’s lawyers can be traced, in part, to their client. Mr. Trump has repeatedly undermined his position by posting on Twitter or taking other actions that could add to the obstruction case against him.


Even after Mr. Mueller’s appointment, Mr. Trump did things like ask witnesses about what they told Mr. Mueller’s investigators and put out misleading statements about contacts between his campaign and Russia, which appear to have deepened the special counsel’s examination of possible obstruction.

A mere review of Jay Sekulow’s own list, drafted in March, of questions Mueller might ask Trump, should make it clear to anyone exercising a tiny degree of skepticism that the claim Mueller is exclusively focused on obstruction is utter nonsense. And after the speaking criminal information released with Manafort’s plea, the expectation of a report should be treated far more critically.

But it’s not.

In an article about how Trump’s lawyers, generally, are clueless, and demonstrating though not reporting that the lawyers providing information to the press are part of that general cluelessness, Maggie and Mike don’t pause to reflect on whether that leaves them, too, clueless.

So when Trump tries to understand his plight by reading Maggie and Mike, he would believe a fiction largely created by the lies he has already told his lawyers and his preference for PR rather than solid legal advice.

Of course, it gets worse from there. Trump has benefitted from nine months of Devin Nunes-led intelligence, fed both via staffers and through a stable of incompetent right wing stenographers, about the investigation. I know for a fact that the most competent Republicans who have read the most investigative documents do not have a grasp about either the scope of the investigation or how it evolved (though someone at least understands that after August 1, 2017, the investigation got far more risky for the President).

But when you take that misunderstanding about the investigation and launder it through incompetent hacks like John Solomon, then the picture it provides is even more misleading.

Which led us to Trump’s decision on Monday to declassify a bunch of stuff.

That led Mark Warner, who has a better though still incomplete understanding of the potential risk to Trump, to quip, “Be careful what you wish for,” suggesting that the documents might be very incriminating to Trump.

Batshit crazier still, Trump went on to do an interview with the aforementioned John Solomon. (The Hill, unlike the NYT and virtually all other outlets, has the dignity to label interviews where Trump tells reporters a bunch of bullshit “opinion.”) In it, Trump suggests he had the authority and should have fired Jim Comey they day he won the primaries (an interesting suggestion by itself as Mueller appears to be investigating Roger Stone’s activities from that time period), which would likely have resulted in a Hillary win.

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,” Trump said. “I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. … I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

Crazier still, Trump admits that he has no idea what is included in the vast swath of documents he has already ordered to be released.

Trump said he had not read the documents he ordered declassified but said he expected to show they would prove the FBI case started as a political “hoax.” 

“I have had many people ask me to release them. Not that I didn’t like the idea but I wanted to wait, I wanted to see where it was all going,” he said.

In the end, he said, his goal was to let the public decide by seeing the documents that have been kept secret for more than two years. “All I want to do is be transparent,”   he said.

As I’ve noted here and elsewhere, even careful readers, to say nothing of the frothy right, have little visibility on how this investigation evolved (even the tiny bit more visibility I have makes me aware of how much I don’t know). If the smartest Republican upstream of Trump’s concerns about the genesis of the investigation doesn’t understand it, then far stupider Congressmen like Mark Meadows, who hasn’t reviewed all the documents, is surely misrepresenting it.

And yet Trump, from within the bubble of sycophants, clueless lawyers, and credulous reporters is blindly taking action in the hope of undercutting the pardon-proof plea deal of his campaign manager.

Update: Thanks to those who corrected my error in the bracketed description of the fourth plea.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 19, 2018, 04:25:06 pm »

Brett Kavanaugh’s own words about Georgetown Prep come back to bite him

Bill Palmer | 8:40 am EDT September 19, 2018

Palmer Report » Analysis

Brett Kavanaugh now stands accused of having attempted to r a p e Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during a party, back when he was a high school student at Georgetown Prep, and she was attending a nearby high school. Ford has gone into great detail about the incident; Kavanaugh claims he never even attended any such party. But now Kavanaugh’s own words are coming back to bite him.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has unearthed a video from 2015 in which Brett Kavanaugh told an audience that “Fortunately we’ve had a good saying that we’ve held firm to, to this day, as the Dean was reminding me before the talk, which is what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.” The audience responded with what sounded like nervous laughter.

Kavanaugh was clearly trying to spin the famous “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” tagline, which has long been seen as a pitch that any debauchery you engage in while visiting Las Vegas won’t follow you home. It’s more than a bit unsettling to hear any adult insist that the same motto would apply to his time in high school. He’s a federal judge and a nominee for the Supreme Court, so everything he’s ever done in his life is fair game for determining his suitability.

Yet even after becoming a judge, Brett Kavanaugh went on to make this remark. In so doing, he tacitly acknowledged that his high school years were indeed full of debauchery, while insisting that none of it is anyone’s business, and thinking it’s hilarious that his former classmates would cover for anything he’s done. When you place this within the context of what Christine Blasey Ford is asserting about Kavanaugh’s high school years, it takes on a profoundly disturbing context.

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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 19, 2018, 11:32:50 am »

Here comes Brett Kavanaugh’s cradle of filth

Bill Palmer | 9:16 am EDT September 18, 2018

Palmer Report » Opinion

Here we go yet again. Now that the stage has been set for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to publicly testify before the Senate about her attempted r a p e accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, and for Kavanaugh to testify in his defense, we’re already seeing the ugliest factions of American society racing to remind us just how ugly they are. It’s already begun.

The race is now on to insist that Kavanaugh – because he’s a powerful man – should be taken at his word, while Ford – because she’s a woman – should not be believed. We’re also seeing the argument that even if Kavanaugh did try to r a p e  a woman, he’s somehow magically a better person now, so we should just ignore it and put him on the Supreme Court anyway, where he’ll get to spend the rest of his life deciding the fates of other lowlifes and their victims. That’s just so pathetic.

If Brett Kavanaugh were being accused of having stolen a candy bar from a convenience store in his youth, we could have a serious conversation about whether he’s grown over the decades from a minor violator of the law, to someone who can be trusted to interpret the law. But attempted  R A P E? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of argument you’d expect to hear after a guy has spent twenty years in prison, and he’s asking to be let out on parole. Even then, you’d expect him to be placed on a sex offender registry for the rest of his life, not on the Supreme Court.

If nothing else, times like these serve as a good litmus test for society, because we see the lowest of the low crawling out of their cradle of filth in order to tell us how they feel. Take a look around at the politicians, pundits, public figures, and guys at the local pub who are arguing that we should automatically believe Brett Kavanaugh because he’s a man, and disbelieve Christine Blasey Ford because she’s a woman. These are the people you can safely reject from society, because if they’re that morally wrong about this, they’re never going to be morally right about anything.


For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. - Proverbs 5 KJV: 21-23

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