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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 163,978

Journal Archives

Terrified Republicans Tried To Block Lawyers From Questioning Impeachment Witnesses


Posted on Thu, Sep 12th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Terrified Republicans Tried To Block Lawyers From Questioning Impeachment Witnesses

House Republicans are so scared of the criminal liability surrounding Trump that they tried to block lawyers from questioning impeachment witnesses.

House Judiciary Committee member, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) tweeted:

Rep. Val Demings
Update: @HouseJudiciary
has beaten the attempted GOP obstruction, passed the new rules, and we are moving forward in our #impeachment investigation.

Next week: former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a witness and participant in President Trump’s obstruction of justice.

Rep. Val Demings
Now the GOP is trying to pass an amendment removing our ability to have trained attorneys ask questions of the witnesses to President Trump’s crimes and corruption.

Begs the question: what are they afraid of?

Republicans are afraid of what the lawyers will ask, and the criminal liability surrounding many of the witnesses to potential Trump crimes.

The impeachment investigation is about more than impeaching a president. There is a web of corruption and crime surrounding Donald Trump and beginning next week, the House Judiciary Committee will begin the long process of following strands of evidence and sorting through a criminal history that predates that presidency and goes back years in the history of Donald Trump.

Republicans don’t want lawyers involved because it is more difficult for a witness to stonewall a lawyer than a member of Congress.

The dam is breaking, and the secrets hidden behind Trump’s obstruction are set to come pouring out.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:55 PM (45 replies)

Connie Schultz: What Does It Mean to Be an American?


What Does It Mean to Be an American?
By Connie Schultz
September 12, 2019 6 min read


Implicit in the question is the acknowledgment that we are no longer who we used to be. If age has anything to do with it, it's only in the depth and breadth of our experience, which we can't ignore. We've never lived in a time such as this. Watergate feels so manageable now, a scary diagnosis with a positive outcome. Life with Donald Trump is triage, and no one has the necessary training to predict our odds.

One by one, we shared our thoughts. Each of us has our own definitions of citizenship and patriotism, but a universal theme unspooled.

We feel differently about America, and our role in it.


If we define activism as a refusal to sit on the sidelines, then so many women of my generation have become activists in ways they never thought they would be. They refuse to be invisible when so many want us to believe our time has passed. They speak up at family gatherings and refuse to apologize for the awkward silence. They write letters to editors and share their views on social media, and show up for one another when any one of them is under attack.

One of my closest friends, who has spent much of her life keeping the peace, now calls her Republican U.S. senator almost daily to demand that he stand up to Trump's racism and violent rhetoric. She provides her name and address, and is never insulting or rude. When a live voice answers the phone, she assures the staffer that her outrage is directed at the senator because he is the one selected to serve the American people, and he is letting his country down.

On that night, at that birthday dinner, we talked about all of this, and so much more, filled with hope no matter what. That's what happens when women gather. We draw strength from one another, and then we go back out into the world, for the world.

Isn't it a shame not everyone knows that?
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 12:41 PM (0 replies)

Justice Sotomayor Issues Scathing Dissent to Supreme Court's Asylum Rule Decision...

Justice Sotomayor Issues Scathing Dissent to Supreme Court's Asylum Rule Decision: The Stakes 'Could Not Be Higher'
By Christina Zhao On 9/12/19 at 12:15 AM EDT

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent issued Wednesday after the Supreme Court approved President Donald Trump's request to allow his administration to enforce its new aggressive asylum rules.

The new asylum rules ⁠— first unveiled by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security in July ⁠— is expected to considerably reduce the number of asylum seekers in the U.S. from Central America. It will also make those who pass through another country before arriving in the U.S. ineligible for asylum, unless they were denied asylum in the country they were passing through first. Victims of trafficking are also exempt.

Out of the four liberal justices sitting on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the only judges to dissent.

"Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution," Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion. "Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law."

Sotomayor also slammed the Trump administration for requesting the Supreme Court to allow the rule when lower courts ruled against the move. "Unfortunately, it appears the Government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new normal," she wrote. "Historically, the Government has made this kind of request rarely; now it does so reflexively."


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 08:43 AM (3 replies)

Warren Proposes the Biggest Expansion of Social Security in 50 Years

Warren Proposes the Biggest Expansion of Social Security in 50 Years
David Dayen
September 12, 2019
The plan, with an immediate $200 per month benefit increase, sets the left edge of the possible on a bedrock Democratic program.

In November 2013, less than a year into Elizabeth Warren’s first Senate term, she gave a floor speech rejecting a persistent push, including from her own party’s president, to cut Social Security benefits. Her outspokenness came out of studying the economy and noting the precarious finances of an aging population. “We don’t build a future for our children by cutting basic retirement benefits for their grandparents,” she argued. “With some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years, and could even increase benefits.”

At the time, a few other liberals—Senators Tom Harkin, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders—had endorsed expanding Social Security, an important protection for a working class struggling to retire with dignity. By joining the fight, Warren helped stave off the march to cuts. What was once the province of a few has become the dominant philosophy in the party. Earlier this year, a Social Security expansion package launched with the support of over 200 House Democrats. And now, Warren is charging ahead with the biggest expansion package a Democrat has proposed in decades.

“Despite the data staring us in the face, Congress hasn’t increased Social Security benefits in nearly fifty years,” Warren wrote today in her favorite format, a Medium post. “We need to get our priorities straight.”

She’s doing it because the struggles remain evident, and worse for those nearing retirement than those already in it. For too many people, particularly people of color, Social Security has become the main source of retirement income, as fewer employers offer significant retirement benefits and stagnant wages eat up savings. The median annual income of women over 65 in 2016 was a paltry $18,380. And that’s with many working into their golden years.

A Government Accountability Office report released just this week revealed that poorer seniors had a dramatically lower survival rate than their richer counterparts. Those living into their 70s and 80s tend to rely more on Social Security, but by paying in less throughout their working lives, they receive less in benefits than richer counterparts who need the money less. This inequality doom loop is built into the inputs and outputs of the Social Security system, and Warren seeks to arrest this yawning wealth gap that is literally a matter of life and death.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 08:21 AM (44 replies)

Judge recalled after Brock Turner case fired from new job as high school tennis coach

Judge recalled after Brock Turner case fired from new job as high school tennis coach
By Aris Folley - 09/12/19 07:23 AM EDT

The former California judge who was recalled after widespread backlash over his sentence in ex-Stanford University athlete Brock Turner's sexual assault case has reportedly been fired from a new job coaching a high school tennis team.

Rachel Zlotziver, a representative for the Fremont Union High School District in California, confirmed the news to HuffPost on Wednesday night, saying: “Effective September 11, 2019, Mr. Persky’s employment with the District as the Junior Varsity Girls Tennis coach has ended.”

Former Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky had joined the staff of Lynbrook High School in San Jose last week, where he was set to coach junior varsity girls tennis.

Zlotziver told HuffPost earlier this week that Persky had been hired after applying for the position over the summer. She said he “was a highly qualified applicant for the position, having attended several tennis coaching clinics for youth, and holds a high rating from the United States Tennis Association.”

However, Zlotziver also told the news outlet that, at the time of Persky’s hiring, the school was unaware of his role in the sexual assault case that thrust his name into the national spotlight in 2016, when he sentenced Turner to six months in jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman.

He lost his job as a judge last summer after the majority of voters in Santa Clara County agreed that he should be recalled.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 08:15 AM (9 replies)

Trump Ignored Evidence Israel Planted Cellphone Spying Devices Near White House: Politico


Trump Ignored Evidence Israel Planted Cellphone Spying Devices Near White House: Politico
Jamie Ross
Updated 09.12.19 5:59AM ET /
Published 09.12.19 5:45AM ET

Israel was accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of placing cellphone surveillance devices near the White House to spy on Donald Trump, according to a report from Politico. Three former U.S. officials reportedly told the site that tiny surveillance devices were planted at sensitive locations around Washington, D.C. and were likely intended to spy on Trump’s communications. However, even though U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Israel was responsible for the spying devices, the Trump administration reportedly didn’t rebuke or take any action against the Israeli government. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security discovered evidence of the surveillance devices some time over the past two years and told federal agencies. “It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” said a former senior intelligence official. An Israeli embassy spokesman described the allegations as “absolute nonsense.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 06:02 AM (23 replies)

Advisers Struggle to Obey Trump's Kafkaesque Rules


Advisers Struggle to Obey Trump’s Kafkaesque Rules
September 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Washington Post: “Trump’s desires for his advisers range from the trivial — someone who looks the part — to the traditional — someone willing to vigorously support him and defend his policies in media appearances. But these demands can be grating and at times terminal for members of his staff — especially for those who, like the national security adviser, may find themselves at odds with the president on critical issues.”

Said one former Trump official: “There is no person that is part of the daily Trump decision-making process that can survive long term. The president doesn’t like people to get good press. He doesn’t like people to get bad press. Yet he expects everyone to be relevant and important and supportive at all times. Even if a person could do all those things, the president would grow tired of anyone in his immediate orbit.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:56 AM (6 replies)

Trump Could Be Facing Indictment In NY For Filing False Tax Returns


Posted on Wed, Sep 11th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Trump Could Be Facing Indictment In NY For Filing False Tax Returns

New York appears to be building a case against Trump for filing false tax returns, and the state can indict a sitting president.


Nick Akerman explained what New York might be up to on MSNBC’s All In:

The big difference here is that Cy Vance is the local he is the state prosecutor in New York county. So he is not concerned with federal crimes. He’s concerned with state crimes. But I think we have a continuous theme here that pervades all of and it’s simply that all roads lead to Donald Trump’s tax returns. To make this a serious crime and a serious felony falsifying business records is usually associated with falsifying numbers so that they falsify in turn the tax returns.

So in this particular case it could very well be that they are looking at the false state tax returns that have been filed by the trump organization, filed by Donald Trump, and there could be all kinds of people who could have criminal liability here. If it’s just Donald Trump, obviously, the problem there is indicting a sitting president, although the Manhattan DA’s office is not under the same stricture as the Department of Justice. They could indict a sitting president. Secondly, there are lots of people around Donald Trump who could be indicted for aiding and abetting and assisting in this.

New York has been trying to get a conviction on the Trump operation for decades. The spotlight of the presidency has finally given them the leads and the information that they have needed. Trump’s biggest criminal liability has always been at the state and local level.

If New York decided to indict Trump before his term was up, the presidency couldn’t save him. New York appears to be building a case against Trump and his business.

Once they have the evidence, Trump may be indicted even if he wins a second term in 2020.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:51 AM (6 replies)

Trump admin won't give temporary protected status to Bahamians who fled Hurricane Dorian


Trump admin won't give temporary protected status to Bahamians who fled Hurricane Dorian
The status would have let Bahamians work and live in the U.S. until it is deemed safe to return home.
Sept. 11, 2019, 3:29 PM EDT
By Julia Ainsley

WASHINGTON — The U.S. will not grant temporary protected status to people from the Bahamas displaced by Hurricane Dorian, an administration official told NBC News.

The status would allow Bahamians to work and live in the U.S. until it is deemed safe to return home. The same status is currently granted to over 300,000 people living in the U.S. from 10 countries, including the victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Monday that the Trump administration was considering whether to grant temporary protected status to people fleeing the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian devastated two major islands there.

Bahamians can still come to the U.S. temporarily, if they have the right travel documents, but will not be granted work permits.

As of Monday, 1,500 victims of Dorian had come to the U.S. after the hurricane swept through the Bahamas.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 11, 2019, 05:39 PM (12 replies)

Why officials patronizing Trump's businesses is corrupt, explained for Kevin McCarthy


Why officials patronizing Trump’s businesses is corrupt, explained for Kevin McCarthy
The House minority leader thinks lining Trump’s pockets is no big deal. He’s wrong.
By Aaron Rupar@atrupar Sep 11, 2019, 4:20pm EDT

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy doesn’t think elected officials spending money at businesses that President Donald Trump owns and profits from is a big deal. He’s wrong.

On the heels of a string of stories about Trump administration and military officials patronizing the president’s properties — like Attorney General William Barr spending $30,000 on a party at the Trump International Hotel, Vice President Mike Pence going far out of his way to spend a night at Trump’s resort in Doonbeg during a diplomatic trip to Ireland, and the Air Force increasingly using a Trump resort in Scotland for overnight stays — McCarthy was asked during his news conference on Tuesday if he has concerns. He indicated he does not.

“The president’s resorts are hotels that he owns, that people are traveling. It’s just like any other hotel,” the California Republican said. “I don’t know that that’s different than anything else. Is it different than if I go and stay or eat at a Marriott here or eat at the Trump?”

But government and military officials directly lining Trump’s pockets by spending money at his hotels, resorts, and restaurants is not in fact equivalent to patronizing the Marriott. On the contrary, it is the textbook definition of one form of corruption.

Becoming president is not supposed to be a money-making venture

Trump broke decades of precedent by refusing to divest from the businesses he still owns and profits from while president. There’s good reason divestment was the norm: Presidents are supposed to make policy decisions based on the public good, not what’s best for their personal bottom line.

Because Trump never divested, he still profits from every dollar that is spent booking a hotel room, event space, or buying a Trump-branded product. That opens him up to the risk of another form of corruption: If you want the president to do political favors for you, lining his pockets by patronizing his businesses is a good way to go about it. On the other hand, spending money at the Marriott when the Trump International Hotel is an option could be perceived as a slight.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 11, 2019, 05:22 PM (1 replies)
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