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Hometown: America's Finest City
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Member since: 2001
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Woody Johnson Asked State Dept. Auditors to Delete Claims of Offensive Remarks from Report

Source: New York Times

The American ambassador to Britain rejected accusations that he made racially or sexually inappropriate comments toward employees at the U.S. Embassy in London.

The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, urged State Department investigators against publicly reporting allegations that he made sexually or racially inappropriate comments to embassy staff, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The report, the product of a routine inspection of the U.S. diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom conducted over a three-month period in the fall, recommended that officials at the State Department’s headquarters in Washington review Mr. Johnson’s conduct.

In particular, it said that staff at the American Embassy in London had reported being subject to “inappropriate or insensitive comments” by Mr. Johnson on topics that may have included references to “religion, sex, or color.”

The final report from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General did not provide any specific examples of comments, although American diplomats have previously told The New York Times that Mr. Johnson had offended embassy staff multiple times with suggestive remarks since becoming ambassador in August 2017.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/12/us/politics/trump-woody-johnson-london-embassy.html

"Woody" Johnson. I'd believe those accusations based on his name alone.

Trump Campaign Playbook: Paint Kamala as 'Ruthless' and 'Power-Hungry'

Sen. Kamala Harris may be on the bottom of the Democratic presidential ticket, but President Donald Trump’s allies plan to portray her as far more than just a running mate. If Joe Biden prevails in November, the line from Team Trump will go, the California Democrat will effectively be the president of the United States.

It’s an extension of a line of attack against Biden that the Trump campaign has hammered for weeks: that he is incapable of governing and would effectively be a vessel for other interests in the Democratic Party to govern by proxy. In Harris, Trump allies say, Biden has selected a perfect foil to ramp up that line of attack.

“The playbook on Kamala is pretty simple,” a plugged-in Trumpworld source told The Daily Beast. “Right now the message on Biden—and it’s the first effective frame the campaign has sustained on Biden—is that he’s an empty shell for the radical left. Kamala Harris is a power-hungry politician. She comes across as ruthless. So it’s a believable frame that she’d be running the administration for empty shell Joe Biden.”

The source, who, like others, requested anonymity to speak candidly about Trump re-election strategy, acknowledged that the strategy will likely elicit cries of sexism from Biden, Harris, and other Democrats. But Trump’s political machine nonetheless sees it as both consistent with recent Biden messaging that they feel has been effective and a line of attack against Harris that Trump and his allies can make stick.


America is about to see what smart Republicans saw in Kamala Harris years ago

Smart Republicans could see Kamala D. Harris coming years ago, and they tried to smother her early. Now that Joe Biden has chosen the first-term senator from California as his running mate, America is about to see what those Republicans could see long ago: Harris is a quick learner and gifted political performer with genuine star power.

It’s facile to compare Harris to former president Barack Obama, though the two are friends. Harris, 55, is the daughter of two academics, a mother from India and a father from Jamaica, who separated when she was 5. Harris and her younger sister were raised primarily by their mom.

She was an early fundraiser for Obama when he first ran for U.S. Senate in 2004. Three years later, she was quick to endorse his presidential candidacy when others in the party held back. Like Obama, Harris navigated her way through a swampy city filled with sharp-elbowed politicians. The shrewdest one of all, Willie Brown, the former San Francisco mayor and speaker of the California Assembly, helped out.

I was in the union hall near Fisherman’s Wharf covering the Brown for Mayor victory party in 1995, when Harris, then a 31-year-old deputy district attorney from Alameda County across the bay from San Francisco, presented Brown with a baseball cap emblazoned with the words “Da Mayor.”


An economic crisis in Kentucky has workers, businesses furious with McConnell

Joblessness is high, benefits are running out and local leaders say they need the kind of aid that the Senate’s most powerful figure has yet to endorse

The parade of cars honked incessantly as they crawled past the federal courthouse on West Broadway, their message clear to anyone who bothered to steal a glance at their signs outside.

“Mitch better have my money.”

The Kentucky representatives from the AFL-CIO, Teamsters and other labor groups had grown incensed with Mitch McConnell, their home state senator and the chamber’s most powerful lawmaker. For months, they said, he had been blocking much-needed congressional coronavirus aid, the kind of dollars that might help workers and businesses in the Bluegrass State struggling to survive financially.

So they hit the streets on Thursday, drove down to McConnell’s Louisville office and started to circle the block, their 30 or so vehicles plastered with not-so-subtle orange and gray signs featuring a family-friendly rewrite of a popular Rihanna tune.

The labor protest marked only the latest in a series of exasperated complaints from Kentuckians directed at McConnell (R), as some locals find themselves frustrated by the absence of their powerful political representative on Capitol Hill. In more than two dozen interviews, out-of-work residents, struggling restaurant owners and other business leaders, as well as a cadre of annoyed food, housing and labor rights groups, all said they are in dire need of more support from Congress — the likes of which McConnell has not been able to provide.


How not to assure the nation that you are a good attorney general

ONLY A few months from a presidential election, at a time when the nation is on edge, a prudent attorney general would take care to stay above the fray, reassuring all Americans that he or she would bring rigorous impartiality to the conduct of the election and the fair counting of votes. Instead, we have William P. Barr.

Over the weekend, the attorney general gave a wide-ranging interview to right-wing provocateur Mark Levin in which he attacked Democrats, Black Lives Matter and the media in tones of emotional, almost bizarre partisanship.

Mr. Barr described Democrats as power-mad agents of a “revolutionary party that believes in tearing down the system.” “They’re not interested in compromise. They’re not interested in dialectic exchange of views. They’re interested in total victory,” he said. In his telling, President Trump’s olive branches have been slapped away, as “they’ve shredded the norms of our system to do what they can to drive him from office or to debilitate his administration.” He explained that “the left wants power because that is essentially their state of grace and their secular religion.”

How do so many Americans fail to see what Mr. Barr sees? The attorney general attacked the “partisan press” for warping the debate. In fact, practically everyone who disagrees with him appears to be slanted in Mr. Barr’s eyes: Courts increasingly ignore the rule of law, he argued, but new “Trump judges” will change that.


If these leaders define the future of the Republican Party, it doesn't deserve to have a future

With President Trump trailing in the polls, there is palpable hope in some quarters that the Republican Party will get back to “normal” before long. That means a Reaganesque agenda of tax cuts, free trade, deregulation, muscular internationalism, social conservatism and a welcoming attitude toward immigrants.

New York Times columnist David Brooks — an old colleague from our days together at the Wall Street Journal editorial page in the 1990s — is rightly skeptical of this assumption. “The basic Trump worldview — on immigration, trade, foreign policy, etc. — will shape the G.O.P. for decades, the way the basic Reagan worldview did for decades,” he wrote last week. But Brooks nevertheless suggests that a high-minded debate to define the nature of the GOP is underway among four youngish senators: Marco Rubio (Fla.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.).

Rubio, he writes, “bases his vision in Catholic social teaching” and champions “common-good capitalism.” Hawley is a populist whose “core belief is that middle-class Americans have been betrayed by elites on every level.” Cotton is an uber-hawk on everything from China to Big Tech. Sasse “is a Tocquevillian localist” who thinks that government’s job “is to ‘create a framework of ordered liberty’ so that people can make their family and neighborhood the center of their lives.”

Brooks’s column accurately reflects what these senators are saying. But, I’m sorry, I can’t take any of their high-minded blather seriously. Not when they have spent the past four years acting as enablers for the worst president in U.S. history — or at least the worst in the past 151 years. Trump’s malign presidency has not only left 16.3 million unemployed and at least 159,000 dead. The wreckage he leaves behind also includes the smoking ruins of conservative ideology.


This is Max Boot's editorial referenced in elleng's post.

The wreckage that Joe Biden might inherit in November

Like some medieval warlord on the verge of ruin, President Trump is burning the harvest and salting the fields. He seems determined to leave behind a broken nation.

No one should take for granted that Trump will lose to Joe Biden in November. But the more likely this result appears to be, the more clearly we can see the wreckage that Biden would inherit. Trump’s tenure has been a disaster all along, but as Election Day approaches things are getting worse — with long-term implications that are dire.

The smoke-and-mirrors executive actions Trump signed this weekend are but the latest example. They don’t actually do anything concrete to help the millions of Americans thrown out of work by the pandemic, with the one exception of extending the moratorium on repayment of student loans, which is a good thing. Beyond that, Trump didn’t really forestall an expected wave of evictions; he just mandated a study of the issue. Trump didn’t really extend the $600-a-week federal supplement to unemployment benefits; he cut it to $300 and demanded that the states, which are basically broke, pony up an additional $100.

But Trump’s deferral of employee payroll tax collection for the rest of the year, for workers making less than $104,000 — which probably is within his power as president — does real damage, all of it gratuitous. It takes away hundreds of billions of dollars from Social Security. And, of course, it helps precisely no one who is unemployed, since to pay payroll taxes one has to be on a payroll.


Trump Teases a Gettysburg Convention Speech. Experts Say It's an Ethics Breach.

If he accepts his nomination at the Civil War battlefield, the president will be conducting partisan business on federal property.

After repeatedly throwing a wrench into plans for the Republican National Convention this summer, President Trump on Monday tried to offer something tantalizing about the upcoming gathering, saying that his renomination speech would take place either at the White House or the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa.

“We will announce the decision soon!” Mr. Trump teased in a Twitter post.

It was perhaps a predictable move by the first president to be credited as an executive producer of a network reality show while sitting in office.

But whether Mr. Trump will actually deliver a nationally televised address in Gettysburg — the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle, a place memorialized in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln as hallowed ground — remains an open question.


There is absolutely nothing this colossal asshole won't defile, desecrate, or debase.

Trump Sends In the Economic Quacks

Now he’s prescribing hydroxychloroquine to fight recession.

As the U.S. economy careens toward disaster, congressional talks about what to do appear to have ground to a halt. So on Saturday President Trump — speaking at one of his golf courses, of course — announced four executive measures that, he claimed, would rescue the recovery.

Unfortunately, one of the measures was vacuous, one trivial and one unworkable. And the fourth may do substantial harm.

The vacuous measure simply calls on government agencies to “consider” helping renters facing eviction. The trivial measure waives interest and defers principal repayment on student loans.

The unworkable measure supposedly provides new aid to the unemployed, who have lost pandemic benefits because Senate Republicans don’t want to provide them; but the announced program would be an administrative nightmare that might take a long time to put into effect and would require partial matching funds that strapped states don’t have. Remember, states had a very hard time implementing the first round of aid to the unemployed, leaving millions in the cold for many weeks. This would be worse.


Trump To Vance: I Would Prefer A Civil, Not Criminal Subpoena

Attorneys for President Trump hit back in a Monday court filing at suggestions that the President is under investigation for fraud, saying that the allegations only meet the bar for civil wrongdoing.

“Many of the allegations in the District Attorney’s extraneous sources that form the basis of his invitation to imagine an investigation broad enough to justify this subpoena, relate to civil, not criminal, conduct,” attorneys for the President wrote in a footnote as part of a broader attempt to prevent a criminal subpoena issued for the President’s financial records from going forward.

Trump is trying to block a subpoena obtained by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for his financial records, held by accounting firm Mazars USA LLP.

The Supreme Court last month struck down a previous round of arguments from Trump that his status as President rendered the subpoena unenforceable, but remanded the case back to the district court while giving Trump leave to raise further objections.

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