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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: 164,018

Journal Archives

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig found not guilty in Mueller spinoff case

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig found not guilty in Mueller spinoff case
The case was about whether he made false statements to investigators about years-old work for Ukraine’s government.
By Andrew Prokopandrew@vox.com Sep 4, 2019, 3:20pm EDT

Greg Craig, who served as White House counsel early in President Barack Obama’s administration, was found not guilty by a Washington, DC, jury Wednesday after a trial stemming from the Mueller investigation.

Craig had been charged with making false statements in a Justice Department inquiry into whether his law firm Skadden Arps should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) because of its work for the Ukrainian government.

His prosecution was spun off from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s extensive investigation of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair who came under scrutiny in the Russia investigation.

Craig’s trial, which lasted about three weeks, boiled down to the question of whether, back in 2013 and 2014, he tried to mislead the Justice Department about what, exactly, he did for Ukraine, in hopes that DOJ would conclude he didn’t have to register as a foreign agent.

Prosecutors argued that Craig tried to mislead the government about his contacts with journalists regarding a report that his firm had put together for the Ukrainian government. Their theory was that, because admitting to doing “public relations work” — rather than just legal work — could have led to a finding that he had to register under FARA, Craig misled DOJ about his contacts with the press.

The defense argued that, while Craig indeed didn’t want to register as a foreign agent, he genuinely didn’t think he needed to. Craig himself took the stand to testify that any inaccurate statements to DOJ were accidental, and that he was talking to the media for his and his firm’s interests (rather than to help Ukraine).


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 04:47 PM (2 replies)

Miriam Lord: How Mike Pence shat on the new carpet in Ireland's spare room

Miriam Lord: How Mike Pence shat on the new carpet in Ireland’s spare room
Stoical smiles as US vice-president delivers strong endorsement of Johnson and Brexit
about 22 hours ago
Miriam Lord

The hospitable hosts buttered up their important guest and made a big fuss of his family and hoped he would say nice things about them to the important people he would meet after his visit to Ireland.

And he told them they were wonderful and that he loved them. He even said a special prayer for everyone and then, just before he left, he turned around and kicked them where it hurts.

It came as a shock.

Like pulling out all the stops for a much-anticipated visitor to your home and thinking it has been a great success until somebody discovers he shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him.


But, after he said all these nice things about the “Emerald Isle” and how much his boss Donald Trump – he sent his best wishes, by the way – appreciates us and all we do to help American security in Shannon, he delivered a very strong endorsement of Boris Johnson and Brexit.

No room left for doubt. As Pence read from the autocue and Irish eyes definitely stopped smiling, it was clear he was channeling His Master’s Voice. Trump is a fan of Brexit and of Boris.

And this, after such a lovely morning, with Pence and his mother meeting the Taoiseach and his mother.

His Irish mother, as Mike calls her. He dotes on Nancy. So he should have known that any Irish mammy will tell you if you can’t say anything good, say nothing at all.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 03:05 PM (1 replies)

Buttigieg unveils climate change plan that would cost more than $1 trillion and aim to create 3M job

2020 Elections
Pete Buttigieg unveils climate change plan that would cost more than $1 trillion and aim to create 3 million clean energy jobs
Published Wed, Sep 4 2019 6:00 AM EDTUpdated 3 hours ago
Jordan McDonald

Key Points

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s climate change plan calls for net-zero emissions by 2050 and creating over 3 million jobs in the next decade.

Buttigieg’s plan calls for investment in green technology R&D, as well as shoring up local communities from the effects of climate change.

Buttigieg’s plan is much more modest than those of rivals Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who have proposals call for spending $2 trillion to $16 trillion.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday unveiled a climate change plan that would include more than $1 trillion in federal investment, with a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and creating over 3 million clean energy and infrastructure jobs in the next decade.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s plan contains three pillars:

building a clean economy by creating clean energy jobs, strengthening rural communities and protecting natural resources;
investing in disaster relief and prevention in vulnerable communities;
building America’s role on the international stage in combating climate change.

The campaign said the plan would include between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion in federal investment.

The proposal includes a $200 billion investment over 10 years in clean energy research and development, the creation of a $250 billion Clean Energy Bank to finance innovative technologies, a $250 billion fund matched with $250 billion in private investment with American companies to lead development of green technologies and a $50 billion seed fund for riskier and experimental ideas.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 02:37 PM (0 replies)

For Women Senators On The Trail, More Camaraderie Than Contention

For Women Senators On The Trail, More Camaraderie Than Contention
On September 2, 2019 By Pat Rynard


While all of the candidates are much more personally friendly with each other on the campaign trail than what gets portrayed in the debates, there’s a unique connection among the women from the Senate.

“These are women I’ve worked with,” Warren told Starting Line last month. “Some of them who helped me get elected and some of them I’ve helped get elected. I’ve been able for a long time to talk to them on the floor of the Senate, to catch a chance to visit at lunch and to support each other. We fight for what we believe in, and we have our own stories and our own ways that we approach it. But we support each other and respect each other.”

In a field this large, while most of the candidates have interacted in some way before this race, it’s a much different, deeper relationship that the senators hold.

“Elizabeth and I are in leadership together, so we see each other all the time,” Klobuchar said in an interview with Starting Line. “Kirsten and I do the softball game — she’s the pitcher and I’m the MC. And Kamala and I, of course, are on the judiciary committee together.”

There could be plenty of opportunities for the women to clash on the campaign trail, even if it stuck purely to policy. Warren’s and Klobuchar’s policy proposals, especially on health care, bookend either side of the ideological divide within the party. Harris’ fine-tuning of her health care plan could have been criticized by either.

But they’ve restrained from criticizing each other directly. Klobuchar was prodded multiple times in the second Democratic debate to contrast herself with Warren and others, an opportunity she took a pass on (the same can’t be said for Tulsi Gabbard, a House member, who has specifically targeted Harris multiple times).


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 08:15 AM (0 replies)

Dem On The House Judiciary Committee Predicts Impeachment Votes By The End Of 2019


Posted on Tue, Sep 3rd, 2019 by Sean Colarossi
Dem On The House Judiciary Committee Predicts Impeachment Votes By The End Of 2019

A Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday that her committee is “moving towards” votes on articles of impeachment by the end of this year.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, the vice chair of the committee, told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki that they are looking into “various allegations of potentially impeachable conduct.” She predicted that impeachment votes will happen before 2019 concludes.

“I think that’s what we’re moving towards,” she said.


The exchange:

STEVE KORNACKI: Jerry Nadler said he anticipates votes by the end of the year. Is that still the plan? Do you think there will be votes from the House Judiciary Committee on specific articles of impeachment by the end of this calendar year?

REP. SCANLON: I think that’s what we’re moving towards. I think we’re trying to do an investigation into the various allegations of potentially impeachable conduct and I would think that the president would support putting forward evidence that could clear him or not.

Democrats are quietly exercising oversight of Trump

With the Democratic primary campaign heating up and other Trump chaos stealing the attention in recent months, talk of impeachment has faded. It’s likely the reason why just 35 percent of the country currently supports removing the president from office via impeachment.

But while the news cycle may change, what Democrats are doing behind the scenes has remained consistent. They continue to conduct key oversight of Trump through various committee investigations and court proceedings.

It’s not a particularly sexy process, but that could end up being a good thing for those who truly want to see this president held accountable for the storm of corruption that surrounds him.

If anything, the lack of fanfare surrounding the Democrats’ work could only boost its credibility as it looks less like a political exercise and more of a genuine attempt by various House committees to do their jobs.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 07:49 AM (9 replies)

David Corn: How to Stop Russia From Attacking and Influencing the 2020 Election


How to Stop Russia From Attacking and Influencing the 2020 Election
A new report offers a roadmap. If only Trump gave a damn.
David Corn

The Russians are coming.

That’s the message about the 2020 election from FBI Director Chris Wray (who this summer said Moscow is determined to interfere in the next presidential contest) and from former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (who warned that Vladimir Putin’s regime and other foreign actors will concoct new methods for messing with American politics in 2020). Yet Donald Trump and his administration have done little to signal that thwarting another Russian attack—or an assault on the election from any other source—is a priority. In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was booted from her post as Department of Homeland Security secretary, she was instructed not to raise with Trump the issue of preventing Russian interference in 2020. (Any talk of Russia’s attempted subversion of US elections apparently irks Trump—as it should, for his election victory is indeed tainted by Moscow’s intervention.) And Trump, who has never fully acknowledged Putin’s attack in 2016, recently noted that he would accept secret help, in the form of dirt on a political rival, from a foreign government for his reelection campaign. That remark, his call to allow Russia to reenter the G8, and his general Russia-didn’t-do-anything stance certainly send a signal to Putin: Feel free to do it again. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked votes on a variety of election security bills.

All of this is particularly maddening because there are steps the US government could take to prevent a repeat of 2016 or something worse. A new report released by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, chronicles what other Western governments have done to counter Moscow’s efforts and outlines steps that could be adopted in the United States to beat back an attack on the next election. (CAP was founded by John Podesta, who certainly cares a lot about Russian attacks: When he was chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, his emails were hacked by Russian operatives and leaked by WikiLeaks through the final four weeks of the 2016 campaign.)


So what can the United States gather from all of this? Well, not surprisingly, CAP has drawn some lessons and proposes a set of recommendations. The first lesson: “A forceful government response is the most important deterrent and mitigating factor.” And that would entail sending Moscow a “clear, bipartisan message” to keep away or risk severe punishment, including tough sanctions. Lesson two: Develop situational awareness among voters. As the authors put it, “Public awareness about foreign influence campaigns is perhaps the single most important defense against such interference and an essential tool toward building a resilient democracy.” The paper recommends that Congress hold hearings to highlight how Russia supports fringe political outfits around the world and that legislators should require the government to notify the public when foreign interference in American politics is detected. CAP also calls for media outlets to “refuse to quote stolen material that clearly has been released as part of an influence operation by a foreign power, as this creates a reward or incentive for Russia to hack and release stolen information.” It urges the adoption of a paper-ballot system and stricter regulation of foreign money in US political campaigns.

This is a fine wish list. There are obviously some immediate roadblocks, such as Trump, Trump, and Trump. And, oh yes, the Republicans. Trump and his cronies will not be formulating a robust, comprehensive, and bipartisan strategy to impede Putin anytime soon. McConnell has even managed to bring the Federal Election Commission, which could more vigorously investigate the flow of foreign money into American politics, to a standstill. (In 2016, McConnell single-handedly prevented the Obama administration from presenting a bipartisan warning to the public by refusing to participate in any effort to call out Moscow, perhaps fearing that would place him at odds with then-candidate Trump, who was falsely claiming Russia was not interfering in the election.) And it will be damn hard to persuade American reporters to eschew hacked material that is publicly released. Moreover, the US voting system is a crazy quilt of local systems, many under-financed; it is difficult to implement defensive reforms that cover all of it.

But this report shows that American democracy need not be vulnerable to Moscow manipulation or assaults from other quarters. Even with Trump and his GOP comrades refusing to honor their obligation to defend the country, other players can take defensive actions. Political parties, individual members of Congress, government officials not under Trump’s thumb, media outlets, and local election officials can proceed on their own with a variety of measures that will render it tougher for foreign adversaries to subvert American democracy. What matters most is will. Government officials, political professionals, the media, and the voters have to give a damn. If they do, there are ideas to implement—even if Trump has no interest in impeding Putin.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 07:40 AM (17 replies)

Bahamas Fisherman Says He Had to Watch Helplessly as His Wife Drowned in Front of Him


Bahamas Fisherman Says He Had to Watch Helplessly as His Wife Drowned in Front of Him
Jamie Ross

Updated 09.04.19 6:34AM ET /

A fisherman from the Bahamas has given a heartbreaking account of the moment he had to watch helplessly as his wife drowned in floods that claimed their home at the height of Hurricane Dorian. Howard Armstrong told CNN the water rose rapidly until it was up their necks. “We were doing all right until the water kept coming up, and all the appliances were going around the house, like the washer machine,” he said. His wife, Lynn, succumbed to hypothermia and slipped underwater after spending hours in the floodwaters. “And then I kept with her, and she just drowned on me,” he said before breaking down in tears. The death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas stands at seven but Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has warned the public to expect that number to climb as floodwaters recede.

Posted by babylonsister | Wed Sep 4, 2019, 07:29 AM (5 replies)

Trump Is Working to Alienate Almost Every GOP Constituency


Trump Is Working to Alienate Almost Every GOP Constituency
by Nancy LeTourneau
August 30, 2019

As Donald Trump is losing support from his Republican base, it is assumed that the drift is being caused by concerns over a faltering economy. While that might be the driving factor, the president seems intent on alienating almost every constituency that has traditionally been part of the GOP.


“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world . . . and the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel.”

“They love him like he is the second coming of God,” Trump quoted Root as saying.

Since 70-80% of American Jews already vote Democratic, Trump didn’t lose much ground with that group. But between that tweet and his claim to be the “chosen one,” I have, for the first time, noticed that some of my white evangelical friends have taken offense. For them, the “second coming of God” refers to Jesus and it is blasphemous to conflate a human being with the son of God.

Overall, language like this is probably not enough to shake loose the stranglehold Trump has with the court evangelicals and their followers. But as Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” So I suspect that, for some white evangelicals, there is a glimmer of doubt beginning to take shape when it comes to their allegiance to Trump.

Finally, the pièce de résistance is Trump’s escalating attacks on Fox News. He recently went on a twitter rant about them, which he ended by saying, “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!” He just exposed the truth about his favorite propaganda network: They work for him, or according to Trump, they used to work for him.

That statement leaves Fox News producers in a double-bind. To appease Trump, they need to demonstrate more loyalty. On the other hand, to dispute the suggestion that they work for Trump, they need to challenge him. Which will they chose?

As I watch Trump alienate all of these core GOP constituencies, I have two thoughts. The first is that his behavior is reminiscent of some of the troubled teenagers I used to work with. While on the surface their behavior appeared to be simply rebellious, it was often designed (unconsciously) to be self-defeating. There are times when I wonder if there isn’t some tiny spark of sanity deep down in the president’s psyche that wants him to be defeated—even as he is willing to fight to the death to avoid it.

The other thought I have could overlap with the first. Amidst all of this, there is one constituency remaining that Trump hasn’t done anything to alienate: white supremacists. On the contrary, he continues to say and do things to garner their support. This explanation for Trump’s behavior indicates that he is doing everything he can to ensure that the 2020 presidential election comes down to a referendum on one thing: racism. Perhaps an element of his delusion is that he thinks he can be successful with only the xenophobes on his side.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 10:17 AM (5 replies)

South Dakota Democrats Close Their Offices


South Dakota Democrats Close Their Offices
September 3, 2019 at 9:51 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

“The South Dakota Democratic Party will no longer have a physical presence in the state,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

“The state party is closing its offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City at the end of September, and party staff will begin working remotely due to the party’s dwindling finances.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 3, 2019, 09:55 AM (26 replies)

Pence says US must 'remain vigilant' about Moscow election meddling

Yea, right.


Pence says US must 'remain vigilant' about Moscow election meddling
By Rebecca Klar - 09/02/19 11:05 AM EDT

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday said that the U.S. must "remain vigilant" over Russia's meddling in elections during a joint press conference in Poland, according to a Reuters report.

"With its efforts to meddle in elections across Europe and around the world now is the time for us to remain vigilant about the intentions and the actions being taken by Russia," Pence said, according to the report.


Pence took a different tone than the president, suggesting the U.S. will support its allies.

"We know there is still more work to do on many fronts, because despite years of negotiations Russian forces still illegally occupy large parts of Georgia and Ukraine," Pence said, based on the Reuters report.

“The truth is Moscow seeks to divide our alliance, now with its oil and gas reserves. Poland has taken a strong stand as we have to promote energy independence and security.”

Trump has taken little to no action over Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, even after former special counsel Robert Mueller's report found evidence the foreign nation interfered and warned that they will likely do so again.

The trip commemorates 80 years since the start of World War II.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 2, 2019, 11:34 AM (10 replies)
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