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KPN

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Member since: Tue Mar 25, 2014, 01:18 PM
Number of posts: 7,876

Journal Archives

How Mueller's hunt for a Russia-Trump conspiracy came up short

This story made my blood boil.

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As recently as February, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team dropped hints that the inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election might unearth evidence of active cooperation between Moscow and President Donald Trump’s campaign. ... That turned out not to be the case.

No criminal conspiracy was documented, according to Barr. But tantalizing court statements by members of Mueller’s team and evidence disclosed in various prosecutions by the special counsel had suggested on several occasions during the 22-month investigation that a different conclusion had been possible. ... the words “did not establish” are commonly used in national security cases as language merely ruling out a chargeable offense. “It doesn’t mean a subject is innocent. It means investigators didn’t find enough evidence to charge a crime,” Montoya said.

When Mueller’s report is released - with parts blacked out by Barr to protect certain sensitive information - it is unclear how harsh a light it will shine on the contacts between Trump campaign figures and Russians. Those making contacts included the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and campaign figures Manafort, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos. ... Mueller and U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia employed hacking and propaganda to sow division in the United States, harm Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost Trump’s candidacy.

Perhaps no avenue of inquiry appeared more promising on the question of conspiracy than Mueller’s pursuit of longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone ... But when Mueller indicted Stone in January, the seven criminal counts did not refer to conspiring with Russians and there was no allegation of close ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange .Mueller questioned more than a half dozen Stone associates to establish if he had acted as a go-between for the campaign with Wikileaks. Stone associates who spoke to Reuters suggested Stone was struggling to make contact with Assange rather than having an inside track.

Randy Credico, a New York comedian associated with Stone who appeared before Mueller’s grand jury, is a case in point. Text messages seen by Reuters show Stone sought to use Credico as an intermediary with Assange and urged Credico to feed WikiLeaks anti-Clinton research. Credico told Reuters he never made good on the request.


More at:
[link:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-conspiracy-analysis/how-muellers-hunt-for-a-russia-trump-conspiracy-came-up-short-idUSKCN1RQ0A7|
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I'm not convinced this interpretation of where we stand is correct. But that's irrelevant. We clearly need a higher legal standard when it comes to election campaigns and elected officials -- especially for the President/Commander in Chief. The checks and balances of our Constitution alone obviously do not always work. This should be a priority when we once again control both the executive and legislative branches. And we will.

Just called my entire Congressional delegation in DC

to express my deep concern after hearing tRumps comments and Barr’s testimony this morning that we are watching live in real time an ongoing coup of the US Government that Rs intend to make permanent.

I expressed my support to each of them and assurance that I would have their back. But also expressed my concern that I am not hearing the alarm being sounded by Democrats in Congress at a time when our nation is at dire risk.

I hope others will take the time to do the same. They need to hear both our deep concern and assurances that we have their back.

I wonder. Do any elected Democratic Congressionals Read DU?

Do they see and hear the enormous sense of urgency being expressed here today?

Does anyone with a meaningful role get the enormity of the very real risk we now face? The urgency of need for effective action? The angst so many of us currently feel? Do they get it?

Beto O'Rourke's secret membership in America's oldest hacking group -- I like this!

While a teenager, O’Rourke acknowledged in an exclusive interview, he belonged to the oldest group of computer hackers in U.S. history.

The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft’s Windows. It’s also known for inventing the word “hacktivism” to describe human-rights-driven security work.

There is no indication that O’Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity, such as breaking into computers or writing code that enabled others to do so. But his membership in the group could explain his approach to politics better than anything on his resume. His background in hacking circles has repeatedly informed his strategy as he explored and subverted established procedures in technology, the media and government.

“There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you’re doing it,” O’Rourke said. “I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.”

An ex-hacker running for national office would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. But that was before two national elections sent people from other nontraditional backgrounds to the White House and Congress, many of them vowing to blow up the status quo.


Much more at:
[link:https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-politics-beto-orourke/

Good read. There's actually some real positives in this sort of background from my perspective. Personally, I believe this is more likely to help than hurt him. Beto certainly has a good chance. I like him, but still have some reservations about his purported views re: economic issues. But he is in the running as far as I'm concerned.

Banks weigh whether to embrace or avoid Ocasio-Cortez

Barely a month into the new Congress, financial lobbyists in Washington are already strategizing how to handle the star power of rookie Democrat lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Democratic Socialist and Wall Street critic joined the 60-member House Financial Services Committee in mid-January and more than a dozen lobbyists interviewed by Reuters say the 29-year-old activist and former bartender is too high-profile to ignore.
Richard Hunt, chief executive of the Consumer Bankers Association, said he had not encountered a lawmaker like Ocasio-Cortez in more than 20 years in Washington. “She has the ability to influence unlike a lot of other freshmen.”

An economics major and self-confessed “science nerd,” Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on issues that put her at odds with the financial industry, including separating commercial and investment banking, breaking up large banks, and forgiving student debt. Central to her campaign has been the rejection of corporate campaign dollars, closing off a traditional avenue for industry access and influence on Capitol Hill. Now lobbyists fear that her enlarged platform will help the first-term junior lawmaker push her ideas into the mainstream and are trying to figure out how best to respond.

Several lobbyists told Reuters they believed they could isolate Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives on the financial services committee by building coalitions with moderate Democrats, such as fellow New York Representative Gregory Meeks, and centrist Republicans.

[link:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-banks-aoc/banks-weigh-whether-to-embrace-or-avoid-progressive-firebrand-ocasio-cortez-idUSKCN1PV27N|


"Trump's crisis powers are a Pandora's box"

Trump used the language of war to make his case for a border wall on Tuesday night. He asked “how much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” About 266,000 illegal immigrants were arrested in America in 2017 and 2018, but most were for traffic violations, drug offenses or breaking immigration laws.

An American president has wide latitude in deciding what is an emergency, which then gives him a vast array of powers. The Brennan Center for Justice identified 136 areas where a U.S. leader could act outside the normal scope of authority in such a situation. Trump could divert government funds for a wall, rather than being stuck because Congress is refusing to provide the $5.7 billion he wants.

A crisis could be used to serve other parts of his agenda. Trump regularly accuses media outlets including CNN and some online platforms of bias against him and Republicans in general. A threat of war, state of peril or other emergency would allow the president to suspend or amend regulations for wire communications entities, or shut down or take control of such facilities.

A cyber war with China, foreign interference in U.S. elections, or even the airing of an interview with someone like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange could provide a pretext to target CNN or MSNBC, according to Timothy Edgar, an attorney and former national security official. ...

[link:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shutdown-breakingviews/breakingviews-trumps-crisis-powers-are-a-pandoras-box-idUSKCN1P32IG|
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How far will this madman and GOP enablers go?

Many American Revolutionaries were much younger than you might think

when they declared independence from Britain

How old were the American Revolutionaries when the colonies declared independence from Britain in 1776?

Some of America's Founding Father's were shockingly young when the colonies declared independence from Britain in 1776. Some were older, like Thomas Jefferson who was 33, John Hancock who was 39, or Benjamin Franklin who was 70. Others were shockingly young — even teenagers. James Monroe, for example, was 18 and Alexander Hamilton was 21.

All Things Liberty compiled a list of the ages of famous people at the start of the American Revolution.

[link:http://www.businessinsider.com/youngest-actors-in-american-revolution-fourth-of-july-independence-2018-6#nathan-hale-21-16|

Experience or youth? In normal times, I'd go with experience. These aren't normal times.

It's time to back our youth.

I would ignore it if I didn't think it was harmful.

I have 3 adult kids who were Bernie supporters. Only one of them voted despite my non-stop arm-twisting ( fortunately we are all in deeply blue Oregon). They express concerns that I am unable to dismiss. They are not racist, they are not stupid, one of the two who didn’t vote is gay, they all have college degrees, they all work hard and honestly to support themselves. I am proud of who they are and what they stand for. Frankly, anyone who criticizes them is criticizing me — and off base. I could go on. Suffice it to say blaming people like my adult kids — which is exactly what they are doing in effect — is self-defeating. It angers me ... especially coming from what I consider my own.

OMG -- switched to Faux News during commercial

and watched Neil Cavuto ask Herman Cain if it had been a liberal entertainer, would ABC have acted so quickly? Can't believe I'm seeing that crap!

Mr 999 answered "Probably not." But to his credit he did say "but that" racist statement would have taken anyone down at some point.

Job losses from automation or trade pacts? Will we learn from this?

A simple request: please don't turn this into something it is not by making this about supporting our fake pResident.

The Epic Mistake about Manufacturing that's Cost Americans Millions of Jobs

America’s manufacturing sector is in far worse shape than the media, politicians, and even most academics realize. Manufacturers’ embrace of automation was supposedly a good thing. Sure, some factory workers lost their jobs. But increased productivity boosted living standards, and as manufacturing work vanished, new jobs in construction and other services took its place. This was more of a shift than a loss, explained Bradford DeLong, economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.


Thanks to a painstaking analysis by a handful of economists, it’s become clear that the data that underpin the dominant narrative—or more precisely, the way most economists interpreted the data—were way off-base. Foreign competition, not automation, was behind the stunning loss in factory jobs. And that means America’s manufacturing sector is in far worse shape than the media, politicians, and even most academics realize.


In the four decades between 1960 and 2000, US manufacturing employment was basically stable, averaging around 17.5 million jobs. Even during the 1980s and 1990s, as Korea and other smaller Asian nations joined the ranks of Germany and Japan to threaten the dominance of US factories, the absolute number of manufacturing workers stayed mostly flat.


Between 2000 and 2010, manufacturing employment plummeted by more than a third. Nearly 6 million American factory workers lost their jobs. The drop was unprecedented—worse than any decade in US manufacturing history. Even during the Great Depression, factory jobs shrunk by only 31%, according to a Information Technology & Innovation Foundation report. ... How, then, do you reconcile the epic employment slump of the 2000s with the steady rise in output? The obvious conclusion is that factories needed fewer people than they did in the past because robots are now doing more and more of the producing. That’s tough for factory workers, but US manufacturing is doing fine. That rests on the basic assumption that the manufacturing output data reflect the actual volume of stuff produced by US factories. It’s a reasonable assumption to make. Unfortunately, it’s not an accurate one.


Two decades of ill-founded policymaking radically restructured the US economy, and reshuffled the social order too. The America that resulted is more unequal and more polarized than it’s been in decades, if not nearly a century. ... In effect, US policymakers put diplomacy before industrial development at home, offering the massive American consumer market as a carrot to encourage other countries to open up their economies to multinational investment. Then, thanks to the popular narrative that automation was responsible for job losses in manufacturing, American leaders tended to dismiss the threat of foreign competition to a thriving manufacturing industry and minimize its importance to the overall health of the US economy.


[link:https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-epic-mistake-about-manufacturing-thats-cost-americans-millions-of-jobs/ar-AAwGZsq?li=BBnbfcN|
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