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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 165,943

Journal Archives

Greater Idaho: Rural conservatives in Oregon look to join Idaho

Greater Idaho: Rural conservatives in Oregon look to join Idaho
By Kelly Mena, CNN
Updated 3:49 PM ET, Tue February 18, 2020

This map, courtesy of the group Greater Idaho, details the proposed boundary adjustment, adding counties from Oregon and California.

Washington, DC (CNN)Some residents in Oregon are fed up with living under Democratic control of their state government and have launched a ballot initiative campaign to join Republican-led Idaho.

The movement, known as "Move Oregon's Border for a Greater Idaho," is hoping to expand the borders of the Gem State through the inclusion of more than a dozen bordering rural counties now in Oregon.

Mike McCarter, chief petitioner of the movement says the group has gotten the "green light" in at least three Oregon counties -- Josephine, Douglas and Umatilla -- that would start the first step in the secession process, which would be collecting signatures to eventually end up on the November 2 ballot.

"Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values," Mike McCarter, one of the chief petitioners of the movement, wrote on the website for the Greater Idaho movement.

"We tried voting those legislators out, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort," McCarter added.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 09:48 PM (10 replies)

Trump Is Going to Cheat

Trump Is Going to Cheat
How should Democrats fight against a president who has no moral or legal compass?

6:00 AM ET
Sarada Peri
Former senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama


Factually, Trump’s position is rather weak. A stronger candidate would be flying higher, given the economic recovery that began (and yielded greater success) under President Barack Obama’s watch. While Trump remains an untouchable, vengeful god within the Republican Party and is competitive in crucial battleground states, he is relentlessly divisive. He must win back the suburban voters who handed the House of Representatives to Democrats in 2018—an especially difficult task now that he’s released an Achilles’ heel of a budget that would cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and a host of other popular programs.

But—and this must be said out loud—the facts may not matter.

If past is prologue, Trump will say absolutely anything necessary to attract and maintain support, including patent untruths. His pathological lying has been well documented and yet never ceases to stun. By one count, he has told more than 15,000 lies since taking office. A small sampling: After falsely declaring that Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama, he displayed a doctored map to cover his tracks, and his chief of staff made the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration release a statement defending his lie. Trump also recently claimed that he rescued health coverage for people with preexisting conditions—even though he has gutted the Affordable Care Act and is suing to overturn it. One day after tweeting, “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget,” his budget revealed cuts to both.

How can Democrats run against a candidate who will simply deny his unpopular positions and make up nonexistent accomplishments? No amount of fact-checking can counter his constant stream of mendacity, which has become white noise in our political culture.

Lying, of course, is only one challenge. The Democratic nominee will also have to contend with cheating. After the 2016 election, the journalist Katy Tur offered an applicable analogy. She said that what made covering Trump as a reporter and running against him as a candidate so difficult was the way that scandals stuck—or didn’t stick—to him. Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state was like a stain on her shirt that people couldn’t get past, because it was the only mark on an otherwise clean shirt. But Trump had so many stains that “you couldn’t tell if it was a stained shirt or if it was just supposed to be that way.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 08:39 PM (54 replies)

Stephen Miller's Uncle Donates To Pro-Refugee Group As 'Wedding Gift' To Nephew

POLITICS 02/18/2020 11:12 am ET Updated 5 hours ago
Stephen Miller’s Uncle Donates To Pro-Refugee Group As ‘Wedding Gift’ To Nephew
The Trump administration’s immigration policies, spearheaded by Miller, are “a danger to everybody in our country,” David Glosser told HuffPost.
By Hayley Miller

Stephen Miller, the senior White House adviser behind some of the Trump administration’s most hard-line immigration policies, tied the knot over the weekend, and his uncle chose the perfect “wedding gift” to honor the newlyweds: a donation to a refugee advocacy organization.

David Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist and Miller’s maternal uncle, on Monday posted a link on Facebook to a spoof online wedding registry created by comedian Samantha Bee in December.

The site, “MatchMadeInHate.com,” contains wish-list items from U.S.-based charities that assist asylum-seekers and immigrants ― such as mittens, underwear and LED night lights.

Miller and now-wife Katie Waldman, press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, are “partners in crimes against humanity,” Bee’s faux registry reads.

Glosser, an outspoken critic of Miller’s anti-immigrant agenda, wrote on his Facebook post that he planned to donate to HIAS, a Jewish American nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees.

“[HIAS] helped to rescue my family from Czarist oppression in the Russian Empire in 1906,” wrote Glosser, who is Jewish. “Had our refugee forebears not been helped to emigrate to the USA, they and their children would have been murdered by the racial madness of Nazism; as were the 74 of our relatives who were shut out of America by the race/religion based immigration exclusion act of 1925 enacted by the ‘America First’ populists of the day.”

“Protect the refugee and welcome the stranger,” he added, “they built America.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:16 PM (18 replies)

Trump pardons the swamp


Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Trump pardons the swamp

President Trump announced Tuesday that he commuted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issuing full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

Blagojevich, a former contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice," attempted to exchange an appointment to Barack Obama’s Senate seat for campaign contributions after the 2008 presidential election and was eight years into his sentence.

The Illinois Legislature impeached and removed Blagojevich, a Democrat, for abuse of power and corruption in 2009. He was found guilty of 17 charges in 2011.

Blagojevich first asked the president to commute his sentence in 2018, and Trump in 2019 said he was considering the commute, claiming the governor was "treated unbelievably unfairly" by federal prosecutors.

The Illinois GOP urged Trump not to grant clemency, saying in a letter that it would "send a damaging message on your efforts to root out public corruption in our government."

Debartolo was convicted of gambling fraud in 1998. Under his ownership, the 49ers won five Super Bowls, establishing a dynasty during the 1980s and 1990s. He avoided prison time, but faced a $1 million fine and a yearlong NFL suspension — ultimately relinquishing control of the team to his sister, Denise York, in 2000.

Kerik, the head of the NYPD during the September 11 attacks and a nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security by George W. Bush, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and other charges in 2009 after accepting a $250,000 "loan" from an Israeli billionaire during his tenure as interior minister of Iraq immediately after the U.S. invasion. He served more than three years in prison.

Milken pleaded guilty in 1990 to extensive securities law violations, serving almost two years in prison alongside a $600 million fine. Since his release from prison, the billionaire has become known for his charitable giving, especially toward medical research.

Between the lines: "Trump has also raised the prospect of commuting the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr.," the N.Y. Times reports.

Other recipients:

Paul Pogue (pardoned)
Ariel Friedler (pardoned)
David Safavian (pardoned)
Angela Stanton (pardoned)
Tynice Nichole Hall (sentence commuted)
Crystal Munoz (sentence commuted)
Judith Negron (sentence commuted)
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:02 PM (4 replies)

On mercury pollution, Trump's EPA goes beyond industry requests

On mercury pollution, Trump's EPA goes beyond industry requests
It's a striking realization when Trump's EPA takes a position that is more pro-pollution than the position of polluters themselves.
Feb. 18, 2020, 11:15 AM EST
By Steve Benen

For much of the last few years, Donald Trump's administration has taken steps to ease rules on mercury pollution from power plants -- not simply as part of a general hostility toward environmental safeguards, but specifically to help the coal industry, which the president sees as a political ally.

What I did not expect, however, is for the Republican administration to go further down this road than even the industry expected or wanted. The Washington Post had a striking report on this yesterday.

For more than three years, the Trump administration has prided itself on working with industry to unshackle companies from burdensome environmental regulations. But as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to finalize the latest in a long line of rollbacks, the nation's power sector has sent a different message: Thanks, but no thanks.

The article noted that Exelon, one of the nation's largest utilities, told the EPA that its effort to change a rule that has cut emissions of mercury and other toxins is "an action that is entirely unnecessary, unreasonable, and universally opposed by the power generation sector."

It's a striking realization when Trump's Environmental Protection Agency takes a position that is more pro-pollution than the position of polluters themselves.

We saw a similar dynamic nearly a year ago, when some of the world's largest auto manufacturers, whom Trump has tried to help by gutting emission standards, collectively told the administration it was going too far to make polluting easier. The president's agenda, the companies explained in June 2019, was bad for business and created "untenable" manufacturing instability.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:48 PM (2 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Bloomberg Plays Turd in the Democratic Punch Bowl


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Bloomberg Plays Turd in the Democratic Punch Bowl

Former New York City mayor and billionaire prick Michael Bloomberg barely won his last election. In 2009, after he rammed through an exception to the city's term limit for mayors, he ran for a third term as a Republican and spent nearly $100 million on his reelection. While that's sofa cushion money for Bloomberg, it was unheard of in a local race, and he outspent his Democratic rival Bill Thompson 14 to 1. Yet, after supposedly having had two successful terms to run on, after dropping all that coin fluffing his own public image like an aging porn star injecting his dick for the third time in a day on the set, all Mayor Mike managed to get was 50.7% of the vote. Enough to win, sure, but Thompson still got over 46%.

The point here is that a hundred million bucks bought Bloomberg a just eked-through victory. There is certainly no guarantee that the $400 million and counting he's spending on the Democratic nomination will do more than give him a brief novelty surge that dies down as soon as everyone remembers "Oh, right, he's that prick."

And it's so easy to find Bloomberg being the goddamndest asshole all the time. Between the odious sustained assault on non-whites in New York City that was "Stop-and-Frisk" to his completely demeaning treatment of women in his circle, Bloomberg has left a trail of bullshit that's visible from miles away. Then there's the strongman tactics that he used as mayor to break up Occupy Wall Street, which involved a violent raid on the protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park in defiance of a court order. I was there in the aftermath, and I saw kids slammed to the ground by cops and listened as Wall Street fucks laughed about the arrested getting raped at Riker's Island. I'd bet anything they were Bloomberg voters.

It's so simple to find a fucked-up quote from Bloomberg. Here he is in 2010 after then-Gov. David Paterson signed a law that prevented police departments from keeping the data they got from every single stop-and-frisk suspect, including those where nothing was found. Bloomberg scoffed, "And what's wrong with keeping the data? We have data on everything. You wait until we have facial recognition software, and somebody's going to have a record of every person that walks down by your house. You just point a camera at them, the software will do it. That's coming. I mean, these days of, we put license plates on your car. You can read those by computer now, and we know where you're driving." He wasn't wrong about the technology, but his enthusiasm sure makes it seem like he may misuse the larger data collection capabilities of, say, the NSA. Ask the Muslim community of New York how that surveillance ended up.


Let's hope that Bloomberg is chewed up and spit out at the Democratic debate tomorrow night, making him spend his billions where he should if he's so goddamned concerned about 2020: on the Senate races.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:55 PM (8 replies)

Trump Waives Contracting Laws for Border Wall

Such horseshit! Just ask yourself; who will benefit?


Trump Waives Contracting Laws for Border Wall
February 18, 2020 at 8:09 am EST By Taegan Goddard

“The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border,” the AP reports.

The Department of Homeland Security said waiving procurement regulations will allow 177 miles (283 kilometers) of wall to be built more quickly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The 10 waived laws include requirements for having open competition, justifying selections and receiving all bonding from a contractor before any work can begin.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 09:49 AM (19 replies)

digby: This is no drill


This is no drill
Published by digby on February 17, 2020

We’ve been talking about the danger Trump presents to democracy since the day after the election in 2016. But this past week has really brought that concern into high relief.

CNN’s Brian Stelter’s newsletter on Sunday featured the following:

Quoting the watchdog group Freedom House: “Trump has assailed essential institutions and traditions including the separation of powers, a free press, an independent judiciary, the impartial delivery of justice, safeguards against corruption, and most disturbingly, the legitimacy of elections.” With that in mind, consider the headlines of the past week:

— Separation of powers: Trump has been challenging the legislative branch’s power of the purse by diverting Pentagon $$$ to build more border wall.

— Free press: His newest budget proposal would cut funding for PBS, NPR, and the military’s iconic Stars and Stripes newspaper.

— Independent judiciary: Via Twitter he attacked a federal judge, the same woman who will be sentencing his friend Roger Stone.

— Safeguards against corruption: He has been smearing the Ukraine whistleblower and those who testified about the scheme to the House.

— Impartial delivery of justice: Look no further than the DOJ crisis. The NYT’s Sunday front page carried new concerns about political interference.

— Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt has been keeping a “dictator” checklist since 2016. He revisited the list for Foreign Policy mag a few days ago. He wrote that “after impeachment, the president has been passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism.”

— The Guardian has an excerpt from the 2018 book “How Democracies Die.”

— This 2016 piece by Vox has aged well: “The rise of American authoritarianism.”

I guess you can say that this is all silly, wine-mom, hysteria if you want. But it strikes me as extremely serious. We’re in a new stage.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 18, 2020, 08:58 AM (11 replies)

Fed. judges' assn. calls emergency meeting after DOJ intervenes in case of Trump ally Roger Stone

Federal judges' association calls emergency meeting after DOJ intervenes in case of Trump ally Roger Stone
Kevin Johnson

WASHINGTON – A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group’s president said Monday.

Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, said the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to weigh in on a deepening crisis that has enveloped the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr.

“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” Rufe told USA TODAY. “We’ll talk all of this through.”


The unusual concern voiced by the judges’ group comes in the wake of an equally unusual protest. More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials called on Barr to resign Sunday, claiming his handling of the Stone case "openly and repeatedly flouted" the principle of equal justice.

"Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the president, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case," the letter reads.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 17, 2020, 07:42 PM (7 replies)

White House effectively admits Iran did not pose an 'imminent threat'

I have an idea; let's call it an assassination!


White House effectively admits Iran did not pose an 'imminent threat'
We're dealing with a dynamic in which the president risked a war for reasons that now appear illegitimate.
Feb. 17, 2020, 11:20 AM EST
By Steve Benen

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat down with NBC News' Richard Engel last week and reflected on the violence between the United States and Iran last month. Zarif argued in the interview that the Trump administration brought the region very close to the brink." He added, "We were very close to a war."

There are still all kinds of questions, however, about why we were very close to a war. According to the Trump administration, the military offensive that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was necessary in order to prevent an "imminent" attack. At least, that was the line in January. As the New York Times reported, the White House has dramatically changed its posture.

The White House told Congress on Friday that President Trump authorized the strike last month that killed Iran's most important general to respond to attacks that had already taken place and deter future ones, contradicting the president's claim that he acted in response to an imminent threat.


After these meandering and contradictory explanations for the airstrike effectively collapsed, the president told a group of donors at Mar-a-Lago that he approved the strike that killed Soleimani because the general "was saying bad things about our country."

I know I've stressed this point a few times, but we're dealing with a dynamic in which the president risked a war for reasons that now appear illegitimate -- just as his Senate impeachment trial was poised to get underway. While his most sycophantic followers may find that satisfactory, the rest of the political world need not accept politically motivated lies about national security so casually.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 17, 2020, 07:22 PM (2 replies)
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