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Home country: USA
Current location: Southern California
Member since: Sun Mar 20, 2011, 12:05 PM
Number of posts: 24,776

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It is HOT in Seattle! There's a heat advisory for the area.

I'm visiting from L.A. and didn't even bring shorts. But I did bring an unmbrella that went unused all week. The temperature gauge on my rental car read 86 today. Yes, it was really cool getting shots of the Space Needle without a cloud in the sky, but this heat is scary. Global warming seems like it's accelerating.

The Worst Thing That Happened to Donald Trump this Week

It was not Comey's testimony (although that was indeed bad for Trump--and Sessions). It was what Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller did::

Robert Mueller hired Michael Dreeben. Dreeben is, according to Lawfare, one of the top criminal appellate attorneys in the country. He has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. He will also be extremely powerful in advocating for the right to information from Trump and his associates, should Trump and/or his associates go to court to try to block subpoenas, depositions, or other actions by Mueller. The man writes extremely effective briefs--which is how cases are won. Mueller is assembling an All-Star team of legal experts. That also includes Andrew Weissmann:

"Weissmann was director of Justice's Enron Task Force, where he oversaw the prosecutions of Jeffrey Skilling, Ken Lay, and Andrew Fastow. While at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, Weissmann helped prosecute high-ranking members of the Genovese, Colombo and Gambino crime families, and fought the infiltration of organized crime on Wall Street. Mueller is amassing the talent arsenal you'd build to bring criminal charges."

These are not the actions of a man who is looking at the investigation and seeing nothing. To argue the case for treason of high level officials, you only want the best. The best don't sign on to lose. When this unfolds it will be historic.

May's UK election gamble backfires as Tories lose majority

Source: ABCNews.com

British Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble in calling an early election backfired spectacularly, as her Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament and pressure mounted on her Friday to resign.

The shock result throws British politics into chaos and could send Britain's negotiations to leave the European Union — due to start June 19 — into disarray. The pound lost more than 2 cents against the dollar.

With 636 of 650 seats in the House of Commons declared, the Conservatives had 310 to the Labour Party's 258. Even if the Conservatives won all the remaining seats, the party would fall short of the 326 needed for an outright majority. Before the election the Conservatives had 330 seats and Labour 229.
The results confounded those who said Labour's left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was electorally toxic. Written off by many pollsters, Labour surged in the final weeks of the campaign. It drew strong support from young people, who appeared to have turned out to vote in bigger-than-expected numbers.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mays-uk-election-gamble-backfires-tories-lose-majority-47931750

May called the snap election in the hope of increasing her majority and strengthening Britain's hand in exit talks with the European Union. She clearly overplayed her hand...by holding Trump's.

WaPo: Trump's Paris speech needs a serious fact check

Unlike its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris accord did not legally bind nations to emissions targets. The only thing keeping a nation in check was pressure from its international peers. Under the agreement, the United States could miss an emissions goal and face no penalty. It could reset that goal, too, with no formal consequence. It's unclear what other concessions the United States could gain from a renegotiation.
China cannot "do whatever they want" until then, as Trump said, at least if China wants to meet that voluntary 2030 target. It needs to begin acting now to control emissions — and in fact, is signaling to the world it is already doing so by announcing in January the cancellation of plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants.
The Paris deal "is more fair to the U.S. than previous agreements because it includes all the major economies of the world, not just the rich countries, so both developed countries and developing countries have skin in the game," Jody Freeman, a Harvard Law School professor and director of the school's Environmental Law and Policy Program, said. Trump's "portrayal is at odds with reality," she added. While it's true that current commitments are not enough to meet the two-degree goal, Trump's figures are off. As my Post colleague Chris Mooney writes, reporting on an analysis from an MIT researcher: "The current country level pledges under the Paris agreement would reduce the planet’s warming by the year 2100 down from 4.2 degrees Celsius (7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 3.3 degrees Celsius (5.9 degrees Fahrenheit), or nearly a full degree Celsius.
The Green Climate Fund contains $10.3 billion not $100 billion. And the U.S. share comes from the Treasury, not any pool or money set aside for anti-terrorism purposes.



Saw this on Facebook. Couldn't resist reporting.

Democrats Dont Need Trumps Voters To Retake The House

Democrats Don’t Need Trump’s Voters To Retake The House

By Harry Enten

Stop me if you’ve seen a headline (or five) that proclaims something along the lines of: “Most Trump voters still support Trump.” Typically, the article includes quotes from Trump voters in Pennsylvania or Michigan. Sometimes it revolves around polling showing people don’t “regret” voting for Trump. The takeaway is usually: Trump still has the support of his base, which means Democrats haven’t cracked the Trump nut yet.

But here’s the thing: Democrats don’t need to crack that nut by 2018; Trump can hang on to most — if not all — of his base, and Democrats could still clean up in the midterm elections. Checking in with Trump’s supporters is worthwhile. But don’t mistake their level of satisfaction for a political prediction.

Let’s start with the basic fact that Trump won just 45.9 percent of the vote in 2016. That doesn’t make his victory any less legitimate — winning (the Electoral College) with less than a majority is still winning — but Trump has a smaller base than every president elected since 1972, except for Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump voters are not a majority.

More importantly for the sake of 2018, they don’t represent the majority of voters in the majority of congressional districts. Trump won more than 50 percent in 205 of 435 districts. If House Republicans won every district where Trump won a majority in 2016 but lost every other one, Democrats would control 230 seats. Among seats won by a Republican in 2016, Trump fell short of a majority in 40 districts. Democrats need to win only 24 of those to win control of the House.



Roger Stone: Trump's Saudi award 'makes me want to puke'

As President Donald Trump celebrated what he called a "tremendous" first day in Saudi Arabia, his onetime campaign adviser and longtime confidante Roger Stone expressed nothing but aversion for the Gulf nation and parts of the President's trip.

In a litany of tweets, Stone berated Saudi Arabia as "the enemy" and slammed Trump for accepting the Order of Abdulaziz from King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

"Candidly this makes me want to puke," he wrote.

The order, the nation's highest civilian honor, was also bestowed upon former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Stone suggested, however, that Trump accepted the award only at the suggestion of his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, although he doesn't say why he made the assertion. https://twitter.com/RogerJStoneJr/status/865963547314073601

H.R. McMaster didn't really deny that Trump gave Russia classified information

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster just emerged from the White House to declare that The Washington Post's story aboutTrump giving highly classified information to Russia "as reported, is false."

But the rest of McMaster's statement made clear he wasn't actually denying the report. And his entire brief statement -- punctuated by McMaster walking away without taking shouted questions -- speaks volumes.

McMaster says that "at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed." But The Post's reporting doesn't say that they were.

Instead, the report states clearly only that Trump discussed an Islamic State plot and the city where the plot was detected by an intelligence-gathering partner. Officials worried that this information could lead to the discovery of the methods and sources involved, but it didn't say Trump discussed them.


FBI: If Trump visited, the "optics would not be good."

Peter Alexander just said on air on MSNBC that the FBI told the White House the "optics would not be good" if he came to visit FBI offices. They told the White House that it would not look good for the President as he would "not be greeted warmly" after the sacking of Comey, which many FBI agents disagreed with.

The irony of Trump using Comey's pink slip to try to clear himself on Russia: it did the opposite.

As TPM reported:

Trump Claims FBI Director Told Him He Wasn’t Under Investigation
Here’s what Trump told Comey — and projected to the entire world — in his letter firing him:

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

On March 20, Comey confirmed under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was “investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”

“That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” he said.

Comey declined to answer whether Trump himself was under investigation. Indeed, that information would be a closely guarded secret — that’s what makes Trump’s clearing of his own name, using the ousted FBI Director’s credibility, so surprising.

Trump's "thanks for clearing me" line, an obvious lie, raised the Russia investigation as the real reason for Comey's firing, thus contradicting the three-page attached justification memo citing Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation. And it spurred the media to remind the public that Comey actually confirmed to Congress there was an investigation into Trump campaign collusion with Russia, and that Comey conspicuously refused to clear Trump.

My favorite comment from the comments section to the article:

That part of the letter reads suspiciously like the letter Trump's doctor "wrote" attesting to his health. He obviously insisted on sticking that in there thinking it would somehow officially clear him. On top of his mental illness and encroaching dementia, this is just a very dumb man.
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