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Gender: Female
Hometown: born is LA, grew up there and in New Canaan CT
Home country: USA
Current location: East Hardwick, Vermont
Member since: Wed Sep 29, 2004, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 114,904

Journal Archives

Today in Aleppo: Suspected Chlorine Gas Attack, Russian Promise to let Aid in, fails.


At least four people have died after a suspected chlorine gas attack on the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.

The gas is believed to have been dropped alongside barrel bombs on the Zubdiya neighbourhood, which is in the rebel-held part of the city.

Hamza Khatib, manager of Al Quds hospital, told Reuters that he had recorded four deaths and 55 injuries.



Syria conflict: Aleppo hit by clashes despite Russia aid pledge


And in Raqa:

Russian air strikes on the Islamic State group bastion of Raqa in northern Syria on Thursday killed at least 30 people, including 24 civilians, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were killed and dozens of people wounded when 10 Russian raids hit the city and its outskirts.

The monitor said it had not yet confirmed how many of the remaining six people killed were civilians or IS jihadists.

The Britain-based Observatory -- which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information -- says it determines what planes carried out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved.


Trump's other polling headache

Another traditional Republican advantage may be going by the wayside this year: Donald Trump, falling perilously behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, isn’t getting the standard “likely voter” bump that usually boosts GOP candidates in the closing weeks of the election.

Every four years around Labor Day, the major national pollsters begin an effort to discern which voters will actually show up at the polls and cast ballots in the presidential race. And when the polls switch from measuring the preferences of all registered voters to those most likely to turn out — a smaller pool of voters — it typically results in improved standing for the GOP candidate.

That’s because established Republican constituencies — namely older voters, but also sometimes whites, wealthier and more educated voters — turn out at higher rates than some core Democratic demographic groups, like younger voters. According to the Census’ Current Population Survey, only 45 percent of U.S. citizens aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in 2012, compared with 68 percent of those 45 to 64, and 72 percent of senior citizens 65 and older.

But while the switch to likely voters in public polling is just beginning, all indications are that Trump won’t run better among the voters who will actually turn out this fall, compared with the universe of all Americans on the voting rolls.


What’s more likely happening is that Trump — viewed unfavorably by nearly two-thirds of voters — isn’t motivating enough Republican or Republican-leaning voters the way previous GOP nominees have. Polls show Clinton supporters and Democratic voters are as enthusiastic about participating in the general election as Trump backers and Republicans — if not more so.

That’s a big turnaround from four years ago, when despite President Barack Obama’s overall advantage among the electorate, Republicans and voters who said they supported former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were the more enthusiastic and motivated group.



An endorsement that HRC should just not mention

By Charles P. Pierce

AUG 10, 2016


In a statement provided by the Clinton campaign, Negroponte touted the former secretary of state's "leadership qualities" in his decision. "She will bring to the Presidency the skill, experience and wisdom that is needed in a President and Commander in Chief," he said. "Having myself served in numerous diplomatic and national security positions starting in 1960, I am convinced that Secretary Clinton has the leadership qualities that far and away qualify her best to be our next President."

Well, that's special, isn't it? And what did Negroponte do while serving "in numerous diplomatic and national security positions starting in 1960"? I'm glad you asked.

In the 1980s, he served as the U.S. ambassador to Honduras. In addition to (at best) covering for that country's murderous autocrats, he also served the Reagan Administration by helping to turn Honduras into a staging area for American-trained death squads in places like El Salvador and Guatemala. (Remember, Eugene Hasenfus was flying out of a base in Honduras when he got shot down over Nicaragua, which is when the Iran-Contra criminal enterprise began to unravel.)


In a Senate floor speech before Negroponte won confirmation, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said, "The picture that emerges in analyzing this new information is a troubling one." Summarizing the new documents from the State Department and CIA, Dodd said the evidence pointed to the fact that from 1980 to 1984, the Honduran military committed most of the country's hundreds of human rights abuses. The documents reported that some Honduran military units, trained by the United States, were implicated in "death squad" operations that employed counterterrorist tactics, including torture, rape, and assassinations against people suspected of supporting leftist guerrillas in El Salvador or leftist movements in Honduras. Dodd criticized Negroponte's earlier Senate testimony. In response to questions about one of these units, Battalion 316, Negroponte had said, "I have never seen any convincing substantiation that they were involved in death squad-type activities."

"Given what we know about the extent and nature of Honduran human rights abuses, to say that Mr. Negroponte was less than forthcoming in his responses to my questions is being generous," said Dodd. "I was also troubled by Ambassador Negroponte's unwillingness to admit that—as a consequence of other U.S. policy priorities—the U.S. Embassy, by acts of omissions, end[ed] up shading the truth about the extent and nature of ongoing human rights abuses in the 1980s. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights had no such reluctance in assigning blame to the Honduran government during its adjudication of a case brought against the government of Honduras [in 1987]," Dodd said.


John Negroponte was in the middle of all of that. His endorsement should be as worthless as the promises he made to the Americans who came to him pleading for the lives of the people with whom they worked.

And if anyone thinks I'm going to drop this because Donald Trump is a crazy person, by all means, find another shebeen.


It's not her fault he endorsed her, but he really is a shameful example of Republican "foreign policy" at its worst.

Trump Advisors: A cackle of hyenas, a conspiracy of ravens, a passel of pigs. What links them?

In this case, the reference is to his financial advisors:

A group of high-profile investors who got rich buying up distressed assets have found their latest turnaround project: Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Republican presidential nominee last week announced his team of economic advisers, calling the 14 men a “formidable group of experienced and talented individuals.” The group, including nine drawn from real estate and finance, will help shape Mr. Trump’s policies on trade, jobs, regulation and taxes.

Those nine are united by more than their wealth. On Wall Street, they are outsiders, known for audacious bets and, sometimes, spectacular flameouts. Five of them are among Mr. Trump’s biggest donors, contributing a total of $1.7 million in recent months to his campaign’s joint fundraising efforts with the Republican Party.


Six individuals on the Trump economics team, including Mr. Barrack, have at times pursued “distressed investing,” going after assets such as soured mortgages or the debt of struggling companies. When companies restructure their balance sheets, distressed investors can make a neat profit. But the strategy is risky, and is confined to a corner of the finance world.

Investor Wilbur Ross said Mr. Trump and Paul Manafort, the campaign’s manager, asked him to help formulate trade policy, owing to his long experience as a distressed investor in industries affected by imports and exports, from cars to textiles.



Ecuador says it'll allow Sweden to question Julian Assange at embassy

Four years after Julian Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Sweden may finally get a chance to question him.

The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about sexual assault allegations.

Assange, an Australian, has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing in the Sweden case.

After years of diplomatic back-and-forth, Ecuador's foreign ministry says it will allow Swedish officials access to the embassy so they can question Assange.

"The attorney general's office notified the prosecutor of the kingdom of Sweden of its willingness to process the interrogation of Julian Assange," Ecuador's foreign ministry said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority welcomed the announcement.

"This is a positive step and allows the investigation to continue," the spokesman said.


Trump brings out the worst in everyone- including me: Donald Trump Calls Obama ‘Founder of ISIS’

and Says It Honors Him

Reading that headline made me want to slap his face, and in my entire adult life, I've never hit anyone.

Here's the story:

SUNRISE, Fla. — A day after remarks that appeared to suggest that gun rights advocates harm Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump sprayed his fire at President Obama on Wednesday, accusing him of creating the Islamic State and saying the terrorist group “honors” him.

“In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama,” Mr. Trump told a raucous and rowdy crowd in Florida on Wednesday night. “He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. He founded ISIS.” He added, “I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.” During an extended riff on the crisis in Crimea, Mr. Trump added extra emphasis on the president’s full name, saying that it occurred “during the administration of Barack Hussein Obama.”

Mr. Trump’s statement was an escalation in his recent criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the terror threat, as he had previously accused only Mrs. Clinton of having a “founding” role in the terror group. His suggestion that the president was honored by ISIS recalled an earlier controversy when Mr. Trump seemingly implied that the president had some connection to the terrorist massacre of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

“He doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Mr. Trump told Fox News in June. And the use of the president’s middle name recalled Mr. Trump’s questioning of Mr. Obama’s faith during his crusade several years ago to prove that Mr. Obama, who is Christian, was not born in the United States.

worse and worse snip


WATCH LIVE: Man climbing Trump Tower using giant suction cups

wonder what's in that backpack?

Updates: A Man Is Climbing The Exterior Of Trump Tower With Giant Suction Cups


You wouldn't believe.... Oh, wait of course you will. Trump's newest advisor:

Like the rest of Donald Trump's campaign, the GOP presidential nominee's effort to lasso support from agribusiness interests and rural voters keeps getting weirder.

A few weeks ago, Trump tapped Charles Herbster—a Nebraskan best known for his fat checks to GOP candidates and his bizarrely diversified business, Conklin—as chairman of his Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee. On Friday, Sid Miller, Texas' colorful agriculture commissioner, announced that he had agreed to serve as co-chair of the committee. (Hat tip Politico).


His tenure as Texas ag commissioner has been a ride worthy of one of his beloved rodeos. Soon after taking office, Miller launched a campaign to make public schools safe spaces for junk food, granting "amnesty" to cupcakes and reversing bans on deep-fat fryers and soda machines. He grabbed headlines for handing plum state jobs to campaign contributors, and for comparing Syrian refugees to rattlesnakes on Facebook and suggesting nuclear bombs should be dropped on Muslim countries. As if taking advice from The Donald himself, Miller declined to apologize for those inflammatory posts, though he did delete them.

But his most celebrated exploits involve trips initially billed to taxpayers as official state business—one to Oklahoma to receive a medical procedure known as "the Jesus shot," administered by a convicted felon known as Dr. Mike; and another to Mississippi to attend the Dixie National Rodeo, where he reportedly won $880 in a calf-roping competition. In both cases, Miller eventually relented and picked up the travel tabs on his own dime.

In the Lubbock radio interview where he announced his association with Trump, Miller gave few details about what sort of agriculture agenda the candidate would push. "My emphasis will be carrying the Texas ag industry for Trump," he said. He denounced "overregulation," naming the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Endangered Species Act as regulatory forces Trump would reckon with.



Q&A: What is a 'Jesus shot' and what's it supposed to do?


With apologies: Now for the bad news.

Yesterday I was brimming with confidence about... well, everything regarding the upcoming election.

Today, I'm reminded that that is unwise.

Hillary has the lead, but there are real problems on the horizon regarding taking back the Senate. Yes, Duckworth and Feingold are prohibitive favorites. In Wisconsin, where a new poll shows HRC with a big lead, today a Federal Appeals Court stayed the ruling by the lower district court that through a spoke in the works of republican attempts to suppress minority voters:

Federal appeals court issues stay of voter ID ruling


Two new polls show Trump stabilizing.

Bloomberg has her up by 6- outside the MoE but not comfortable, and down from the previous poll.

The UPI tracking poll:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Donald Trump stabilized his polling numbers for a second day, gaining ground while Hillary Clinton slipped slightly in the UPI/CVoter daily presidential tracking poll released Wednesday.

As of data collected since Monday, Clinton leads the race by 3.5 percentage points, 48.5 percent to Trump's 45 percent.



And more alarming is this detailed piece:

THE BIG IDEA: In all but one of this year’s Senate races, the Republican incumbent is meaningfully outperforming Donald Trump in the polls.

An NBC/WSJ/Marist poll that was conducted last month on the eve of the conventions found that both the presidential race and the Senate race in Ohio were tied.

A fresh version of their poll, released last night, showed that Hillary Clinton has opened a 5-point lead over Trump among registered voters in Ohio. At the same time, Republican Sen. Rob Portman – who kept his distance from Trump during the convention in Cleveland – now leads by 5 points over Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.

That remarkable 10-point spread is quite unusual compared to recent elections, which have become increasingly nationalized.

It’s just the latest data point in a stream of public opinion research that has given Mitch McConnell hope he can keep his job as Senate Majority Leader.

A Suffolk poll last week showed Clinton winning Florida by 6 points even as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio led his likely Democratic challenger by 13 points (a 19-point spread). Quinnipiac and Marist surveys last month also showed a 10-point spread in Rubio’s favor.

-- I reviewed three dozen surveys conducted since late June across the 11 states that will determine control of the upper chamber. On average, the Republican incumbent has outperformed Trump by 8 points. (This includes states that are likely holds for the GOP, such as Iowa, where Clinton leads by 4 points but Sen. Chuck Grassley is up 10 points.)



I don't know about anyone else, but I find it all too easy to get overconfident. Trump is so awful and has such a bad case of terminal foot in mouth disease, I keep thinking, it's impossible that he could come back.

There's a lot of wisdom in the words, fight like you're behind, and take nothing for granted.

Whoa. L.A. Times Op-Ed: If Trump wins, a coup isn't impossible here in the U.S.

Americans viewing the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey as some exotic foreign news story -- the latest, violent yet hardly unusual political development to occur in a region constantly beset by turmoil -- should pause to consider that the prospect of similar instability would not be unfathomable in this country if Donald Trump were to win the presidency.

Trump is the most brazenly authoritarian figure to secure the nomination of a major American political party. He expresses his support for all manner of strongmen, and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has actually worked for one: former Ukrainian president and Vladimir Putin ally Viktor Yanukovich. At the Republican National Convention here Monday, Manafort put some of the tricks he learned overseas as a dictator whisperer to good use, employing underhanded tactics to avoid a roll call vote on the convention’s rules package and quietly removing language from the party platform expressing support for Ukraine’s democratic aspirations.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has repeatedly bragged about ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, and has dismissed the possibility that he would face any resistance. “They won’t refuse,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baierearlier this year. “They’re not gonna refuse me. Believe me.” When Baier insisted that such orders are “illegal,” Trump replied, “I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.”

Oh really? Blimpish swagger might fly within the patriarchal confines of a family business, a criminal operation (the distinction is sometimes blurred) or a dictatorship. It does not, however, work in a liberal democracy, legally grounded by a written constitution, each branch restrained by separation of powers.

Try to imagine, then, a situation in which Trump commanded our military to do something stupid, illegal or irrational. Something so dangerous that it put the lives of Americans and the security of the country at stake. (Trump’s former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio, said the United States could not trust “the nuclear codes” to an “erratic individual.”) Faced with opposition from his military brass, Trump would perhaps reconsider and back down. But what if he didn’t?



James Kirchick is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative. His book, “The End of Europe”, is forthcoming from Yale University Press.

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