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Gender: Male
Hometown: Charleston, WV
Home country: USA
Member since: Tue Apr 19, 2005, 07:32 AM
Number of posts: 24,548

Journal Archives

Ex-defense secretary sues over withheld material from Trump era memoir

Source: The Guardian

The former US defense secretary Mark Esper claims in a lawsuit against the defense department that material is being improperly withheld from him as he seeks to publish an “unvarnished and candid memoir” of his time in Donald Trump’s cabinet.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Sunday in the US district court in Washington, describes the memoir, A Sacred Oath, as an account of Esper’s tenure as army secretary from 2017 to 2019 and his 18 months as defense secretary, which ended when Trump fired him in a tweet just days after the president lost his reelection bid.

The period in which Esper was Pentagon chief was “an unprecedented time of civil unrest, public health crises, growing threats abroad, Pentagon transformation, and a White House seemingly bent on circumventing the constitution”, the lawsuit says.

Esper and Trump were sharply divided over the use of the military during civil unrest in June 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. Other issues led the president to believe Esper was not sufficiently loyal while Esper believed he was trying to keep the department apolitical. Firing a defense secretary after an election loss was unprecedented, but the opening allowed Trump to install loyalists in top Pentagon positions as he continued to dispute his election loss.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/29/ex-defense-secretary-sues-over-withheld-material-from-trump-era-memoir-mark-esper

Looks like the DoD is trying to torpedo Esper's forthcoming book.

Pandora Papers: "Biggest-ever" bombshell leak exposes financial secrets of the super-rich

Source: Salon

In what's being called the "biggest-ever leak of offshore data," a cache of nearly 12 million files published Sunday laid bare the hidden wealth, secret dealings, and corruption of hundreds of world leaders, billionaires, public officials, celebrities, and others.

The bombshell revelations—known as the Pandora Papers—were published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and include private emails, secret contracts, and other records obtained during a two-year investigation involving more than 600 journalists in 117 countries and territories.

"This is the Panama Papers on steroids," said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle, referring to the 2016 exposé of the tax-evading secrets of the super-rich. "It's broader, richer, and has more detail."

Read more: https://www.salon.com/2021/10/03/pandora-papers-biggest-ever-bombshell-leak-exposes-financial-secrets-of-the-super-rich_partner/

The Panama Papers on steroids. This should get interesting.

Trump's new interviews and appearances show that a storm is brewing

I watched Donald Trump's entire "interview" with One America News propagandist Dan Ball, and that's the quote that stood out the most.

Trump was in the middle of a fact-free rant about "vicious" Democrats cheating on elections when he said "they're destroying our country. Our country will not survive this. Our country will not survive." Then he sniffed and shifted to immigration, saying "look at where they're coming from," clearly mimicking the "great replacement theory" talking points that Tucker Carlson has been mainlining into homes across the country.

These are all signs of the gathering storm. Trump's incessant lies about the last election (Biden "didn't get 81 million votes, there's no way," he told OAN) pose obvious threats to future elections. The so-called "Stop the Steal" movement is "racing forward," ignoring the Arizona audit "humiliation," the NYT pointed out over the weekend.

Most of us can feel the instability in the air the same way a weather forecaster can feel a storm coming on. News outlets need to be providing storm warnings -- but some are ignoring the threat. That's what my opening essay on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" telecast was about. Anti-democratic talking points are being paraded across networks like Newsmax, and averting one's eyes doesn't make the parade go away...


A new COVID-19 booster shot that could protect against multiple variants is being tested in humans

A COVID-19 booster shot that may protect against multiple variants is being tested in humans.

It uses new vaccine technology that self-replicates once injected in the muscle.

The vaccine may need a lower dose than existing shots, potentially reducing side effects.


This looks promising.

George W. Bush calls on Americans to confront domestic violent extremists on 9/11 anniversary

Source: CNN

Former President George W. Bush on Saturday called on Americans to confront domestic violent extremists, comparing them to violent extremists abroad and warning that they are "children of the same foul spirit."

In a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Bush said the US has seen "growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within."

"There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home," Bush said. "But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit."

"And it is our continuing duty to confront them," he added.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/11/politics/george-w-bush-9-11-speech-domestic-violent-extremism/index.html

The January 6 insurrectionists were terrorists. George W. Bush just indicted them.

Kremlin papers appear to show Putin's plot to put Trump in White House

Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.

They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position.

Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature.


Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.

"How the hell did Sidney get in the building?" White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann grumbled from the outer Oval Office as Sidney Powell and her entourage strutted by to visit the president.

President Trump's private schedule hadn't included appointments for Powell or the others: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, and a little-known former Trump administration official, Emily Newman. But they'd come to convince Trump that he had the power to take extreme measures to keep fighting.

As Powell and the others entered the Oval Office that evening, Herschmann - a wealthy business executive and former partner at Kasowitz Benson & Torres who'd been pulled out of quasi-retirement to advise Trump - quietly slipped in behind them.


Long read but well worth the time. If you want to know just how nutty Trump and his followers are, then here ya go.

Op-Ed: Why so many people want to believe the election was stolen

A month after the presidential election, President Trump’s claim that the election was rigged to benefit Joe Biden has been debunked by numerous Republican state elections officials. Dozens of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its proxies have been rejected by judges in both state and federal courts. There is no evidence to support any of the campaign’s baseless charges of election fraud, though its power to undermine faith in American democracy is real.

Yet millions of Americans — including about 70% to 80% of Republicans — believe the election was stolen. Why?

One standard answer is that Trump’s backers will believe anything he says. Another perspective, popular among some psychologists, is that people filter ambiguous information through an ideological lens, preferring interpretations that favor their political affiliations.

But in this case, these explanations seem insufficient. People follow charismatic leaders and selectively process political information, but they do not typically cling to a belief that contradicts all available evidence.

Understanding the fallout from the intense polarization of this election will take time. But research into social and political psychology can offer some insight into this response from Trump supporters.


A good analysis but it simply describes the well known cravings of reptilian brains: They need to have the world explained to them in 3 word chants. Anything more nuanced is just too much work.

The Supreme Court Wants to Revive a Doctrine That Would Paralyze Biden's Administration

It could cripple even the most basic government functions.

Joe Biden promised us an FDR-sized presidency—starting with bold action to halt the spread of COVID-19, end the worst economic downturn in decades, and stop the climate crisis. Biden could use regulation and executive action to move quickly to decarbonize the economy, cancel student loan debt, and raise wages. But a Biden administration has an even bigger problem than two long-shot special elections in Georgia: the new 6–3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court may soon burn down the federal government’s regulatory powers.

At least five conservative justices have signaled that they are eager to revive the “non-delegation doctrine,” the constitutional principle that Congress can’t give (“delegate”) too much lawmaking power to the executive branch. On paper, the rule requires Congress, when delegating power to an agency, to articulate an “intelligible principle” (like air pollution regulation needed “to protect public health”) to guide the agency’s exercise of that power. But in practice, the nondelegation doctrine is effectively dead. The court has only struck down two statutes on nondelegation grounds—and none since 1935.

Today, most of the government’s work is done through the “administrative state,” the administrative agencies and offices, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Education, which issue regulations and enforce laws. Congress doesn’t have the capacity to pass laws that nimbly address complex, technical, and ever-changing problems like air pollution, COVID-19 exposure in workplaces, drug testing, and the disposal of nuclear waste. So Congress tasks agencies staffed with scientists and other specialists to craft regulations that directly address those problems. This division of responsibility—Congress legislates policy goals and agencies implement them effectively—is the foundation of functional government.


Government doesn’t work without the administrative state. But that’s sort of the point. The conservative justices have long been hostile to regulation and executive action. And now they may finally have the votes to bring virtually any regulation to a halt. At least five justices are ready to drop a 1,000-pound anvil on any Biden administration rule that displeases them.


If he doesn't want to return to the Gilded Age, Biden will have to pack the SCOTUS - and not just with moderates. McConnell would block every nominee in the Senate unless they are rightwing extremists. There is so much riding on the GA Senate runoffs.

Latest House and Senate ratings show Democrats increasingly competitive in Republican areas

With a little more than two weeks to go before Election Day, the national environment continues to look bright for Democrats, who are trying to flip the Senate and grow their House majority -- not to mention kick President Donald Trump out of the White House.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's lead over Trump -- he had an 11-point edge in the CNN poll of Polls as of Friday -- combined with impressive down-ballot Democratic fundraising has helped the party expand their playing field into red states and districts.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, a CNN contributor, has shifted the Kansas and Colorado Senate races and 20 House races in Democrats' favor. Even the district once held by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows could now be in play. Just three House races moved toward Republicans.

Inside Elections has also revised upward its projections for how many seats Democrats are likely to pick up in each chamber. In the Senate, it's now a net gain of four to six seats, which puts Democrats well on the path to the majority. They need a net gain of four seats to flip the Senate, or three if they win the White House since the vice president breaks ties in the Senate.


The blue wave is coming!
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