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Gender: Male
Hometown: NY
Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 11:41 PM
Number of posts: 36,540

Journal Archives

How Hillary Clinton's Press Secretary Self-Radicalized and Became a Resistance Leader

Brian Fallon was once one of the most sought after operatives in Democratic politics: a brass knuckle brawler with experience at the highest levels of government, a cellphone filled with the top journalists in town, and a reputation for being preternaturally on message. Most offices would have died to hire him. But that was before he decided to devote his career to making the courts more progressive—and to doing so with little care for who he pissed off along the way. Now, many top Democrats can’t stand him.

...In the wake of that Clinton loss, he started the progressive organization Demand Justice in the spring of 2018. In theory, it was dedicated to stopping President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments. But in practice it’s been about redirecting the Democratic id as it pertains to the judicial wars. The group has rattled many Democratic senators who, Fallon believes, are supporting the president’s judges as an olive branch to Republicans or out of some bygone commitment to courtesies and norms. The group has issued report cards going after Democratic senators’ voting patterns, run ads calling out Democrats who vote with Trump the most, and pushed progressives to embrace new liberal priorities like getting rid of the legislative filibuster and expanding the Supreme Court.

...he gradually became irked by how quickly many Democrats expressed willingness to work with the incoming Trump administration. During the campaign, they’d called Trump a threat to the foundation of the United States. But within days of the election, some were already positioning themselves to cut legislative deals with him. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the willingness of some Senate Democrats to greenlight Trump’s judicial appointees.

“This seemed like an issue where Trump was having an immense impact, in fact arguably going to be his biggest legacy beyond the tax legislation or anything he’s done administratively,” Fallon said. “You have these Democrats, some of whom now want to run for president, that present themselves as champions on climate change or champions of reproductive rights but they’re voting for huge swaths of Trump appointees that when those cases touching those issues reach them they’re going to rule exactly the wrong way. Why is that viewed as acceptable?”

...That Fallon spends a good chunk of his days calling his fellow Democrats squishes isn’t lost on him. Nor is he entirely unmoved by the argument that his time would be better spent focused on Republicans exclusively. It’s just that he no longer buys into that worldview. If anything, he’s grown more convinced that the lack of political willpower of the “centrist go-along, get-along Democrat[s]”—as he calls them—is the fundamental hurdle Democrats face.

“I suppose we could take the very dog bites man approach to focusing attention on Republicans,” he said. “But no one would be surprised or fault Republicans for voting for judges that they agree with. The twisted thing that’s going on is Democrats are voting two-thirds of the time for judges that they don’t agree with.”

More at https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-brian-fallon-hillary-clintons-press-secretary-self-radicalized-and-became-a-resistance-leader?ref=scroll

Posted by BeyondGeography | Thu May 16, 2019, 09:52 AM (6 replies)

U.S. seizes North Korean coal ship, accuses Pyongyang of violating sanctions

Source: Washington Post

U.S. authorities have seized a North Korean ship used to sell coal in alleged violation of international sanctions, Justice Department officials said Thursday.

Justice Department officials confirmed the ship, the “Wise Honest,” is approaching U.S. territorial waters, with coordination of the U.S. Marshals and the Coast Guard.

Officials said it was the first time the U.S. has seized a North Korean cargo vessel for violating international sanctions.

“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in announcing the seizure.

...The move marks an escalation of U.S. government pressure on Pyongyang, even as President Trump has spoken glowingly about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-seizes-north-korean-coal-ship-accuses-pyongyang-of-violating-sanctions/2019/05/09/8fc50d86-726e-11e9-8be0-ca575670e91c_story.html?utm_term=.8a77d27f3e8c
Posted by BeyondGeography | Thu May 9, 2019, 11:35 AM (28 replies)

The latest: Nancy Pelosi Says Trump 'Is Becoming Self-Impeachable'

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi derided the Trump administration’s efforts to obstruct Congress, and said that Trump “is becoming self-impeachable,” which is not how impeachment works.

During a Washington Post Live interview with Pelosi, reporter Robert Costa asked Pelosi about the possibility that former White House counsel Don McGahn might refuse to testify before Congress.

“Can you hold him in contempt, Mr McGahn, for refusing congressional demands?” Costa asked.

“Well, we don’t know that he has yet,” Pelosi replied. “Let’s take it one step at a time, let’s see where it goes.”

“And I have said the president is goading us into, wants to goad us into impeachment because he knows, as do I, that that’s not a good thing for the country,” Pelosi continued, and added “But the point is is that every single day, whether it’s obstruction obstruction obstruction obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, or ignoring subpoenas, every single day the president is making a case.”

“He’s becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things that he is doing,” she added.

...Despite Pelosi’s turn of phrase, Trump is actually not going to impeach himself. The House of Representatives that Speaker Pelosi leads would have to do that.


Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed May 8, 2019, 10:07 AM (21 replies)

'Open up the case': New video of Sandra Bland's 2015 arrest surfaces

Posted by BeyondGeography | Tue May 7, 2019, 05:02 PM (0 replies)

Elizabeth Warren Calls On Congress To Impeach Trump

Posted by BeyondGeography | Tue May 7, 2019, 02:03 PM (6 replies)

Joe Biden and the Party of Davos

As a pillar of the ancien régime, Biden is ill-placed to overturn Trump’s revolution.

Roger Cohen

Is Donald Trump an aberration? If he is, Joe Biden is the perfect Democratic candidate to defeat him next year, the steady hand that can restore decency, steer a middle course between Wall Street and Main Street, and reinvigorate the shaken liberal democratic order.

I don’t think Trump is an aberration. On the contrary, he’s the face, however duplicitous, of a revolution against the Party of Davos, the network of elites whose economic and cultural prescriptions came to be seen by myriad voters across the United States and Europe as camouflage for a self-serving heist.

...For all his Scranton blue-collar beginnings, Biden will be pilloried as a faithful servant of the Party of Davos that secured impunity for the financiers behind the 2008 meltdown, a heady growth in inequality, China appeasement and the arrogance of money-wooed Democrats estranged from their working-class constituency. Unfiltered politics, technology’s dubious gift, will hurt him. These politics prize agility more than honor. The world has moved on. Whither I’m not sure, but it has. Things shift. That’s the way of the world — inexorable as biology.

...One of the most significant exchanges so far of the fight for the 2020 Democratic nomination came in the last few days when Biden said of China: “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.” To which Bernie Sanders shot back that the United States had lost three million manufacturing jobs to the 2000 China trade deal. “It’s wrong,” he tweeted, “to pretend that China isn’t one of our major economic competitors.”

Not only economic, I would add. China is set on an implacable course to run the world in the second half of this century. If that is not precisely what you want for your children, thinking that “they’re not competition for us” is precisely the wrong place to start. It’s lazy thinking — and laziness has hurt the liberal center a lot over the past decade.

More at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/03/opinion/joe-biden.html
Posted by BeyondGeography | Sat May 4, 2019, 06:14 AM (7 replies)

David Hockney on Vincent van Gogh

With timely allusions to spring included.
Posted by BeyondGeography | Fri May 3, 2019, 04:11 PM (0 replies)

Democrats have many avenues of attack. Why hold back?

Jennifer Rubin

Republicans and nervous Democrats would have us believe that Democrats must choose a single approach in the face of President Trump’s multifaceted wrongdoing. Nope.

The House can hold investigative hearings — calling Robert S. Mueller III, Donald McGahn, Hope Hicks and others — without yet making a decision to pursue impeachment of Trump. At the same time, the House can subpoena Attorney General William P. Barr and hold him in contempt if he refuses to appear and produce the full Mueller report. The House can also, if Barr still refuses and further instructs the U.S. attorney not to enforce a contempt finding in court, pursue impeachment of Barr. Too much going on at once? Well, that never stopped Trump.

None of his precludes the House from moving forward on popular legislation...

One gets the feeling that Democrats are far too concerned that rigorous pursuit of Trump’s wrongdoing will detract from winning messages on health care, the environment and income inequality. For one thing, the former helps enliven their base, and for another, Democrats risk tolerating worse and worse behavior if they show skittishness over pursuing their oversight functions. (We already see Barr testing the House by refusing to show up for a hearing.)

There is another benefit for Democrats in pursuing a full-court press on both substance and scandal: the Senate. As House bills pile up outside the Senate chamber (because Sen. Mitch McConnell won’t bring them up for votes), the GOP-controlled Senate refuses even to investigate obvious wrongdoing and Republican senators make fools of themselves slobbering over Trump and his Cabinet officials (as they did with Barr), the portrait of craven, spineless enablers becomes more vivid. They won’t pass bills. They won’t do real oversight. They won’t insist on truth-telling from witnesses. The more reasons they give voters to oppose sycophantic senators, the more likely a flip in control of the Senate becomes.

Democrats therefore shouldn’t reject the political gifts they have been given. Trump’s surplus of scandals and unpopular policy positions shouldn’t limit Democrats’ avenues of attack. To the contrary, they should advance on all fronts.

Posted by BeyondGeography | Thu May 2, 2019, 10:36 AM (4 replies)

Behind the Counter, a New Political Force Takes On The New York Post and Trump

Yemeni-American bodega owners in New York City organized a boycott of the newspaper over what they see as anti-Muslim bias.

Stepping into his Brooklyn bodega, Mohammed Almuntaser recalled how his heart sank. Staring up at him from the entryway was a copy of The New York Post, with a picture of the World Trade Center in flames on the cover and a headline attacking a Muslim member of Congress, Ilhan Omar.

“It was disgusting. It was racist. I couldn’t believe this racist thing was sitting at my store,” said Mr. Almuntaser, 29, who owns four bodegas in the city. “The very next day, I told everyone who works at my stores not to accept the paper.”

He was not alone, and a boycott of The Post began.

...In 2017, Yemeni-American bodega owners closed their shops for a day and rallied in Downtown Brooklyn against Mr. Trump’s Muslim travel ban, which separated some Yemeni husbands in New York from wives and children abroad.

After The Post cover was published on April 11, the community’s two-year-old trade association, the Yemeni American Merchant Association (YAMA), again called for action.

The association asked Yemeni-American bodega owners in the city to stop selling The Post until it issues an apology to Ms. Omar and Muslim-Americans in New York. Of the roughly 10,000 bodegas in the city, YAMA estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 are owned by Yemeni-Americans.

“We have the power and tools to do something about this. We have thousands of stores which, from an economic perspective, can make an impact,” said Rabyaah Althaibani, a Yemeni-American organizer and member of YAMA.

More at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/nyregion/yemeni-bodegas-ny-post-boycott.html

Posted by BeyondGeography | Mon Apr 29, 2019, 10:59 PM (2 replies)

Woodstock 50 Canceled By Its Investors

Source: NPR

Woodstock 50, a wide-ranging festival that had hoped to bring the spirit of 1969 to a new generation this August, has been canceled. Tim O'Hearn, the administrator for Schuyler County, New York, where the event was to take place, confirmed the cancellation to NPR; he said he had been contacted by Dentsu Aegis Network, which had been bankrolling the planned festival.

The festival, which was supposed to run Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. — a different location than its namesake event — boasted an impressive lineup that was meant to bridge multiple generations and musical genres, from Santana, David Crosby and John Fogerty to Jay-Z, Chance The Rapper and Miley Cyrus. One of the primary organizers of Woodstock 50, promoter Michael Lang, was also a co-founder of the original Woodstock event in 1969.

On Monday morning, Billboard published a statement from Amplifi Live, a Dentsu Aegis division, that read in part: "Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network's Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved."

Since the 50th anniversary event was announced in January, there have been multiple signs that the festival's organizers did not have matters in order. Originally, organizers announced that tickets would initially go on sale in late January, and that the artist roster would be released in February. The festival missed both of those dates, as well as a plan to release tickets for sale on April 22. Tickets were still not on sale as of Monday afternoon.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/29/718321891/woodstock-50-canceled-by-its-investors
Posted by BeyondGeography | Mon Apr 29, 2019, 03:07 PM (31 replies)
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