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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 167,254

Journal Archives

The Democratic Party Attacks on Ilhan Omar Are a Travesty


The Democratic Party Attacks on Ilhan Omar Are a Travesty
I’m Jewish and have worked against anti-Semitism for decades. I was sitting a few feet from Omar at Busboys & Poets and I heard nothing—nothing—that smacked of anti-Semitism, overt or coded or otherwise.
By Phyllis Bennis
Today 11:36 am


I’m Jewish. I’ve worked against anti-Semitism, in the context of working against white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and beyond, for decades. And I heard nothing—nothing—that smacked of anti-Semitism, overt or coded or otherwise. Ilhan Omar simply didn’t say it.

Here’s some of what she did say.

I know what intolerance looks like and I’m sensitive when someone says, “the words you use Ilhan, are resemblance of intolerance.” And I am cautious of that and I feel pained by that. But it’s almost as if every single time we say something, regardless of what it is we say, that it’s supposed to be about foreign policy or engagement, our advocacy about ending oppression, or the freeing of every human life and wanting dignity, we get to be labeled in something, and that ends the discussion, because we end up defending that, and nobody ever gets to have the broader debate of “what is happening with Palestine?” So for me, I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask, why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil-fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy.…

I mean, most of us are new, but many members of Congress have been there forever. Some of them have been there before we were born. So I know many of them, many of them, were fighting for people to be free, for people to live in dignity in South Africa. I know many of them fight for people around the world to have dignity, to have self-determination. So I know, I know that they care about these things. But now that you have two Muslims who are saying, “here is a group of people that we want to make sure they have the dignity that you want everyone else to have!”…we get to be called names, we get to be labeled as hateful.

No, we know what hate looks like. We experience it every single day. We have to deal with death threats. I have colleagues who talk about death threats. And sometimes…there are cities in my state where the gas stations have written on their bathrooms “assassinate Ilhan Omar.” I have people driving around my district looking for my home, for my office, causing me harm. I have people every single day on Fox News and everywhere, posting that I am a threat to this country. So I know what fear looks like. The masjid I pray in in Minnesota got bombed by two domestic white terrorists. So I know what it feels to be someone who is of faith that is vilified. I know what it means to be someone whose ethnicity is vilified. I know what it feels to be of a race—like I am an immigrant, so I don’t have the historical drama that some of my black sisters and brothers have in this country, but I know what it means for people to just see me as a black person, and to treat me as less than a human. And so, when people say, “you are bringing hate,” I know what their intention is. Their intention is to make sure that our lights are dimmed. That we walk around with our heads bowed. That we lower our face and our voice.

But we have news for people.… what people are afraid of is not that there are two Muslims in Congress. What people are afraid of is that there are two Muslims in Congress that have their eyes wide open, that have their feet to the ground, that know what they’re talking about, that are fearless, and that understand that they have the same election certificate as everyone else in Congress.

For the Democratic Party leadership to launch these false claims of anti-Semitism is a travesty. Ilhan Omar’s words were powerful, passionate, principled, and based on a deep truth. No lights were dimmed that night. Fearless voices, and hundreds of their supporters, from every community, every race, everyone, were all that we heard. And all we needed to hear.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 06:52 PM (62 replies)

Republicans reject calls to probe Trump role in hush-money payments

What, that check didn't provide enough proof?

Republicans reject calls to probe Trump role in hush-money payments
By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, CNN

Updated 4:24 PM ET, Tue March 5, 2019

(CNN)President Donald Trump may have committed crimes over a scheme to pay off women alleging extramarital affairs -- but Senate Republicans say they have no reason to look into it.

GOP leaders and key committee chairmen are making clear that they believe there is no reason to probe whether the President broke the law in engaging in a scheme to hide payments made to two women to keep their stories quiet in the days running up to the 2016 elections.

Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and investigated Hillary Clinton's email controversy in the last Congress, says he wants to wait until special counsel Robert Mueller finishes his investigation first.

Told that the investigation into the hush-money scheme was being led by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Johnson said: "We'll let the justice system work its way. ... I want to see the definitive information as opposed to show-trial type testimony at congressional hearings."


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 06:15 PM (3 replies)

Eric Trump Admits Pressure on Family Maybe Not 'Worth' Winning Presidency

and a womp womp for good measure.


Eric Trump Admits Pressure on Family Maybe Not ‘Worth’ Winning Presidency

‘I mean, this was a billionaire who gave up an unbelievable life to go get punched on the chin every single day,’ Eric Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.
Matt Wilstein
03.05.19 3:11 PM ET

In a new radio interview with Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, Eric Trump admitted that he sometimes thinks his father becoming president was not worth all of the “pressure” on his family.

After giving his guest permission to “punt on this question,” Kilmeade asked, “When you and your dad talk with your family around, do you guys ever look at each other and say, was this worth it? Was it worth it to be—to have the family dynamics be put on this type of pressure?”

While Eric Trump said he has not had those specific discussions with his father, he did admit that it is something that has talked about with his wife, Lara Trump. “Have I thought it in my mind? Have I said it casually at dinner with my wife?” he asked. “A hundred percent.”

At the same time, he insisted that “there is not a day that goes by where people don’t come up to me on the street and say, ‘Hey, thank you for what your family is doing, like, thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made.’” He said he used to “kind of almost roll my eyes at the statement, ‘thank you for the sacrifices,’” especially when “so many people have paid the ultimate sacrifice” for the country. But now, he gets it.

“I mean, this was a billionaire who gave up an unbelievable life to go get punched on the chin every single day,” Eric Trump added. “To get abused, and quite frankly, as a family we’ve done that as well.”

Asked by Kilmeade if everything his family has gone through over the past couple of years makes winning reelection more or less important now, Eric Trump answered, “You know what, in a certain way, I want to win this thing.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 04:34 PM (47 replies)

Trump Signals He Won't Comply with House Probes

Now what?


Trump Signals He Won’t Comply with House Probes
March 5, 2019 at 3:14 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

President Trump signaled the White House will not comply with a barrage of congressional investigations, accusing Democrats in the House of launching the probes to hurt his chances of winning reelection in 2020, The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “It’s a disgrace to our country. I’m not surprised that it’s happening. Basically, they’ve started the campaign. So the campaign begins.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 04:22 PM (12 replies)

Rep. Ted Lieu Requests Criminal Investigation Into Jared Kushner's Security Clearance

Posted on Tue, Mar 5th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Rep. Ted Lieu Requests Criminal Investigation Into Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting an immediate criminal investigation into false statements made by Jared Kushner on his security clearance form.

Rep. Lieu said on MSNBC, “Prior to entering Congress, I already had a security clearance. I had to fill out an SF 86 form, the same thing Jared Kushner had to fill out, and right the form it says if you make false statements or omit material facts, you can go to prison for up to five years. Jared Kushner not only sent in one false and misleading form. He sent in two, so Congressman Don Beyer and I have made a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. Asked them to investigate Jared Kushner to see if he should be indicted for putting in false or at least material false SF 86 forms.”


Read the letter that was sent to Attorney General William Barr (at link)

In the letter, Reps. Lieu and Don Beyer (D-VA) wrote:

We are deeply disturbed by recent reports that President Trump ordered his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, to grant Jared Kushner a security clearance, overruling intelligence officials who raised concerns about the clear national security risks of doing so. Taken together with previous reports that Mr. Kushner omitted contacts with more than one hundred foreign persons on his clearance forms – including the Russian Ambassador – we request that the Department of Justice open an immediate investigation to determine if Mr. Kushner is criminally liable for his false statements.


Mr. Kushner and Ivanka Trump have both apparently lied in various public interviews and in statements, saying that the President never directed Kelly to grant a clearance for his son-in-law. In an interview on ABC News’ The View on February 8, Ivanka Trump said, “The President had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband’s clearance – zero.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 03:08 PM (1 replies)

Senate Democrats Will 'Go On Offense' on Climate Change


Senate Democrats Will ‘Go On Offense’ on Climate Change
March 5, 2019 at 7:16 am EST By Taegan Goddard

“Facing a showdown vote as early as this month over the embattled ‘Green New Deal,’ Senate Democrats are preparing a counteroffensive to make combating climate change a central issue of their 2020 campaigns — a striking shift on an issue they have shied away from for the past decade,” the New York Times reports.

“Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) outlined the new strategy in an interview last week, casting it as a way to mobilize millennial voters, a key part of the Democratic constituency that the party will need to turn out to win in swing states.”

“With progressives pushing Democrats to embrace the Green New Deal — and Republicans ridiculing the idea as socialism — Mr. Schumer is effectively trying to turn a weakness into a strength. He is planning daily floor speeches attacking Republicans for inaction and a proposal for a special Senate committee focused on the issue, which he intends to announce this week.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 08:53 AM (4 replies)

The Guy Trump Called 'Fat Jerry' Is Chairman Nadler Now


The Guy Trump Called ‘Fat Jerry’ Is Chairman Nadler Now
The congressman who stood his ground against the developer in New York is up against the president in Washington now.
Michael Daly
03.05.19 4:55 AM ET

Long before there was Crooked Hillary and Lyin’ Ted there was Fat Jerry.

That 1995 bit of name-calling by Donald Trump was aimed at Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Democrat from New York who now serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The insult may not make much sense to those who have begun taking notice of Nadler only now that he has sent out more than 80 letters to individuals and entities asking for a wide range of documents relating to their dealings with Trump.

But the present Nadler is a person transformed since he underwent stomach reduction surgery in 2001 and shed more than 100 pounds. He had been noshing himself toward a peak weight of 328 pounds back when he first roused Trump’s ire.

Their original object of contention was Television City, a metropolis within a metropolis that Trump proposed on a 52-acre tract he acquired on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1980s. The initial plan was for eight towers and 5,700 apartments, as well as television and movie studios.

Nadler met with Trump as the state assemblyman who then represented the area. Trump excitedly told him that the centerpiece would be a 150-story building, the tallest in the world. The lower floors were to be NBC’s new headquarters. Trump would of course occupy a palatial penthouse apartment at the very top.

Nadler was more of the opinion that New Yorkers wanted an affordable apartment. He opposed Trump’s project, viewing it as a neighborhood destroyer. Enough of the neighborhood agreed with him that he was elected to Congress after the incumbent, Rep. Ted Weiss, died the day before the primary in 1992.


Nadler introduced and single-handedly marshaled legislation that ruled out any federal funding for the project beyond what had already been allocated for a feasibility study.

Trump responded with name-calling and spin.

“Fat Jerry Nadler is doing me a favor,” he said. “He’s too stupid to realize it. He’s making me a lot of money.”


Nadler never responded to Trump's name-calling, but you can be sure he never forgot it.

And now, Fat Jerry has a new name whose ramifications Trump is only beginning to learn.

Chairman Nadler.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Mar 5, 2019, 08:39 AM (22 replies)

Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defends collapsed North Korean talks, gets caught lying


Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defends collapsed North Korean talks, gets caught lying
Daily Kos Staff
Monday March 04, 2019 · 3:23 PM EST

Skim through this USA Today write-up of its interview with Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and take note of how often the ex-congressman turned top Trump adviser is described as "angry," is dismissive of the questions, or just generally comes off as an ass. It might be that the secretary was just having a bad day—perhaps he swallowed a bee or something. But he comes off as a man at the very end of his rope, doing his best to rebut the facts of the world with the Trump-required answers but no longer able to pretend at grace as he does it.

This exchange is especially peculiar, or would be in any mostly competent administration.

Pompeo reacted angrily when asked about the North Korean foreign minister's statement, made hours after the talks dissolved, that the offer Kim made in Hanoi was final.

“That’s not what the North Koreans said,” Pompeo responded. “Don’t say things that aren’t true. ... Show me the quote from the North Koreans that said this was their one and only offer. Where’d you get that?”

After he was read a quote from Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho – in which he said “our proposal will never be changed” – Pompeo fell silent for about six seconds. Then he countered, “What they said is they’re prepared to continue conversations with us and that’s what we intend to do.”

Hey, look, it's the entire Trump administration in a nutshell. Angrily denounce a question as fake news and call the questioner a liar. Get read the actual damn quote, a quote that a supposed top administration official in charge of that precise thing clearly would be expected to have been aware of. Sit in a stupor until the brain kicks in, then declare that, even though the thing happened exactly as the questioner said it did, it's still not true because reasons. Next question.

Pompeo has certainly had a busy week, and is apparently going to be kept busy by upcoming visits to the various states to shore up Republican election chances on Trump's behalf. (Farmers in Iowa are rightly irate over Trump's trade war, for example, so Pompeo will have to smooth things over with the usual implausible platitudes.) And he's almost certainly being screamed at by the incompetent, buffoonish Trump behind the scenes, so he has reason to be in a foul mood.

That doesn't mean we have to feel sorry for him, however. He knew what he was getting into, just as surely as all the others did. Back when he was a congressman, Pompeo made a name for himself as a tea party-branded conspiracy crank with an anti-Muslim, anti-science, anti-whatever chip on his shoulder, so the man already had learned how to advance through the party by saying demonstrably false things for momentary gain. He jumped at the chance to become one of Trump's designated incompetents. He’s presumably right where he wants to be.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 4, 2019, 07:47 PM (7 replies)

...Keep your socialist hands off our government programs

Americans' mixed message for 2020 presidential candidates: Keep your socialist hands off our government programs
Americans have a clear message for 2020 presidential candidates, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: keep your socialist hands off our government programs.
As a philosophical label, socialism fares dismally alongside capitalism in public sentiment.
As a practical matter, however, average Americans who have long suffered from slow-growing wages want more help from their representatives in Washington.

John Harwood | @johnjharwood
Published 21 Hours Ago Updated 7 Hours Ago CNBC.com

Twenty months before Election Day, Americans have a clear message for 2020 presidential candidates: keep your socialist hands off our government programs.

That paradoxical verdict emerges from the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. And it underscores the challenges facing both President Donald Trump and his Democratic adversaries.

As a philosophical label, socialism fares dismally alongside capitalism in public sentiment. Just 18 percent of Americans react positively to the mention of socialism, while 50 percent react negatively. Capitalism draws almost exactly the inverse reaction: 50 percent positive and 19 percent negative.

Those contrasting views explain why President Trump and fellow Republicans seek to slap that label on Democrats across the board. They also explain why most Democratic presidential candidates, apart from the self-styled Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, reject the label and call themselves capitalists.

As a practical matter, however, average Americans who have long suffered from slow-growing wages want more help from their representatives in Washington. So the poll shows that a 55-percent majority says government should do more to solve problems and meet their needs, compared to 41 percent who say government is doing too many things already. Americans have expressed a desire for more government help by double-digit margins throughout Trump's presidency.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 4, 2019, 06:04 PM (8 replies)

Fox News's propaganda isn't just unethical -- research shows it's enormously influential

Fox News’s propaganda isn’t just unethical — research shows it’s enormously influential
Without the “Fox effect,” neither Bush nor Trump could have won.
By Matthew Yglesias@mattyglesiasmatt@vox.com Mar 4, 2019, 12:30pm EST

Jane Mayer, the New Yorker’s longtime star investigative reporter, has a fantastic new longform piece out detailing the extent to which the Fox News Channel has become propaganda television for the Trump administration.

Many of the basic points — like Fox’s bending of ethical standards to accommodate Sean Hannity, the collaborative relationship between Fox and Trump in shaping the news agenda, and the extent to which Trump at times seems to take his policy cues from Fox & Friends - will be familiar to Vox readers. But Mayer adds critical new insights into the arc of change at the network during a period when CEO Roger Ailes was deposed and then died, vice president Bill Shine left to become White House communications director, and the company’s owner Rupert Murdoch has restructured his media holdings and prepared to pass the baton to his son.

She also adds a couple of key scoops, including:

A Fox reporter named Diana Falzone had pieced together the entire Stormy Daniels story before the election, but network executives killed the story, demoted her, and then, after she sued them, reached a settlement with her that included a nondisclosure agreement.

“Trump ordered Gary Cohn, then the director of the National Economic Council, to pressure the Justice Department to intervene” and sue to block AT&T’s proposed takeover of Time Warner. (The DOJ did sue, though they denied this was due to improper interference from the White House, and ended up losing in court.)

“During the Bush Administration’s disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina, Fox’s ratings slumped so badly, a former Fox producer told me, that he was told to stop covering it.”

Fox’s propaganda broadcasting matters. It’s a somewhat underexplored topic in political science research, but the information that’s available suggests that right-wing propaganda broadcasting — led by Fox but also including Sinclair Broadcast Group — has a decisive influence on American politics.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Mar 4, 2019, 04:35 PM (10 replies)
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