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Journal Archives

GOP lawmaker to introduce bill requiring arrested DC protesters pay for police overtime


GOP lawmaker to introduce bill requiring arrested DC protesters pay for police overtime
By Jessica Campisi - 09/24/19 08:48 AM EDT

GOP Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.) on Monday said that in response to climate protests that took place in downtown Washington, D.C., he plans to introduce a bill that would force arrested protesters to pay for police overtime.

“Under my bill, a person will be responsible for public safety response costs incurred by the District of Columbia’s response to a demonstration if, in connection with the demonstration, the person is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense,” Banks tweeted.

Banks added that his bill “would not prohibit other demonstrations or protests” that receive legal permits, including the annual March for Life or the Women’s March, and would only affect illegal protesters who get arrested.

“Washington, D.C. collects over $4 billion in federal funding,” Banks continued. “Hoosier taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for illegal protests — it is a violation of their 1st Amendment rights.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 24, 2019, 09:11 AM (7 replies)

Federal Aviation Administration Misled Congress Over Boeing 737 MAX Inspector Qualifications: Report


Federal Aviation Administration Misled Congress Over Boeing 737 MAX Inspector Qualifications: Report
Barbie Latza Nadeau
Updated 09.24.19 5:36AM ET /
Published 09.24.19 5:08AM ET

Investigators examining a Federal Aviation Administration whistleblower complaint have found that the federal agency misled Congress, The Washington Post reports. The complaint charges that safety inspectors who worked on training requirements for Boeing 737 MAX pilots were “under-qualified” and that the FAA provided misleading information about the problem to Congress. The complaint calls into question the FAA’s transparency and safety oversight, which has come under new scrutiny after a pair of fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX jets that killed 346 people. Recent findings show the FAA had handed Boeing autonomy on a number of tasks that it should have overseen. Both Boeing and the FAA have faced increasing criticism that they had not adequately trained pilots to handle an allegedly faulty automated system on the 737 MAX jets.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 24, 2019, 08:33 AM (7 replies)

Ex-U.S. Attorney Says Government Officials Have Been Convicted For Doing Exactly What Trump Did


Posted on Mon, Sep 23rd, 2019 by Sean Colarossi
Ex-U.S. Attorney Says Government Officials Have Been Convicted For Doing Exactly What Trump Did

As Democrats determine how to respond following the shocking news that Donald Trump – again – sought election dirt from a foreign government, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade said on Monday that the controversy is pretty clear-cut: The president broke the law.

According to McQuade, government officials have been convicted for doing exactly what Trump did when he got on the phone and tried to bribe the president of Ukraine into handing over damaging information about Joe Biden and his family.

“This is the kind of act that an ordinary citizen probably couldn’t commit because of his position, but it really does echo the statutory prohibition on bribery and extortion,” she said. “Unlike the kinds of crimes Mueller was investigating of obstruction, there actually is reference of bribery in the Constitution as a grounds for impeachment explicitly.”


McQuade said:

This is the kind of act that an ordinary citizen probably couldn’t commit because of his position, but it really does echo the statutory prohibition on bribery and extortion. It’s essentially demanding a thing of value to which he is not entitled in exchange for the performance of an official act. In my district, the former mayor of Detroit was convicted of an extortion scheme that was very similar. He would withhold contracts, public works contracts, that were worth millions of dollars unless he got a demand met and received a thing of value. That was his friend getting put on all of these contracts, to cash in on some of the proceeds of those contracts. I see this in a very similar way with parallels to bribery and extortion. And unlike the kinds of crimes Mueller was investigating of obstruction, there actually is reference of bribery in the Constitution as a grounds for impeachment explicitly.

Democrats have a smoking gun


As Barbara McQuade pointed out on Monday night, there is nothing ambiguous about what happened.

It is now up to Democrats to react with the same clarity to make sure what Donald Trump and his Republican protectors in Congress and the Justice Department don’t have time to build another false narrative around yet another crime committed by this lawless president.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 24, 2019, 08:27 AM (0 replies)

Trump snubs Jared Kushner's signature accomplishment

Trouble in paradise?

Trump snubs Jared Kushner’s signature accomplishment

The president thinks criminal justice reform is a political loser, and hasn't been shy about saying so.
09/24/2019 05:00 AM EDT

When President Donald Trump huddled with campaign aides in the late spring to discuss his bid for reelection, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told his father-in-law he should highlight last year’s historic passage of the First Step Act – a sweeping criminal justice reform bill that eluded previous administrations and has earned celebrity support.

Kushner reiterated the positive selling points of that bill during the Oval Office meeting as Trump campaign officials and White House aides ticked through the president’s achievements, wondering which would resonate most with his adoring base. But Trump wasn’t interested and told Kushner he didn’t think his core voters would care much about a bipartisan deal for which he’s since accused Democrats of trying to steal credit.

“It was clear he thinks it’s a total dud,” said a person familiar with the meeting. “He made it abundantly clear he doesn’t think it’s worth talking about.”

Kushner, whose own father spent more than a year in federal prison, worked closely with Democratic and Republican senators to get the criminal justice reform bill over the finish line last year – often telling his tough-on-crime boss it was worth expending political capital to seize a rare opportunity to overcome the deeply partisan divide on Capitol Hill and solidify his image as a pragmatic dealmaker.

But now, Trump “is telling people he’s mad” at how criminal justice reform has panned out, according to a person close to the president. “He’s really mad that he did it. He’s saying that he’s furious at Jared because Jared is telling him he’s going to get all these votes of all these felons.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 24, 2019, 08:12 AM (0 replies)

'F*** You, Mr. President': Joe Biden's Son Hunter Brushes Off Donald Trump's Investigation Threats

From July~

'F*** You, Mr. President': Joe Biden's Son Hunter Brushes Off Donald Trump's Investigation Threats
By Alexandra Hutzler On 7/1/19 at 10:34 AM EDT

Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden, brushed off President Donald Trump's call for an investigation into his business deals with foreign powers.

In a feature published by The New Yorker on Monday, Hunter Biden said when he first saw reports of Trump's threats he also noticed a helicopter flying overhead.

"I said, 'I hope they're taking pictures of us right now. I hope it's a live feed of the President so he can see just how much I care about the tweets,'" he told the magazine. He added that he also told his new wife, Melissa Cohen, "I don't care. F*** you, Mr. President. Here I am, living my life."

During an interview with Fox News host Steve Hilton in May, Trump said that the Justice Department should "one hundred percent" launch a probe into the former vice president and his son's financial ties with China and Ukraine.

The president also said that an investigation would "be an appropriate thing" to discuss with Attorney General William Barr. Barr, who joined the Trump administration in February, has been accused of acting as a defense lawyer for the president and has received many calls to resign from former federal prosecutors and Democratic lawmakers.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 23, 2019, 10:37 PM (4 replies)

Let Us Now Praise Greta Thunberg's White-Hot Rage


Let Us Now Praise Greta Thunberg’s White-Hot Rage
Donald Trump was the object of her steely glare, if not her words.
By Kenzie Bryant
September 23, 2019

Look at Greta Thunberg, who recently sailed across the ocean to speak on Monday at the U.N. for the Climate Action Summit. Look at her absolute rage, which in the following GIF, appears to be reserved for one Donald J. Trump:
With that look, she didn’t have to actually say anything; it would have been fine. Her weeks-long trip across the Atlantic would have been worth it. We would have still felt the white-hot fire of her fury. A hole would have still bore into the back of Trump’s head, exposing the infertile terrain beneath.


Narrowed eyes and forceful inflection accompanied her words, as she directed them toward those who have chosen to do nothing, or run interference, or construct red herrings out of nothing in the face of climate change. She’s already gotten under some adults’ skin while she was merely crossing the ocean to come to the U.N. (boats, she reminded us, release far less carbon than planes). Several have taken to heckling the 16-year-old publicly. But at least in that one look, her message seemed to be for Trump alone.

Which, fair. He’s a man who says the types of things a very stupid person would say about climate change. Like, because it can still get really cold sometimes, climate change must not exist. Once, when asked if he believes in climate change, he said, I shit you not,, “I believe there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways.”

These would all be the ramblings of an idiot, if he didn’t also, with the help of those in his administration, try to undo the small concessions past administrations have made in order to keep living on the Earth as we know it.

Anyway, listen: Greta Thunberg can run me over with her rage and compost my body. It would be an honor.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 23, 2019, 08:59 PM (4 replies)

Trump's Ukraine Defense Is the Same One He's Used for Years: I Did It. So What?


Trump’s Ukraine Defense Is the Same One He’s Used for Years: I Did It. So What?
By John Cassidy
5:03 P.M.
Donald Trump’s effort to turn the Ukraine scandal into a story about a Presidential opponent is entirely familiar.


Forty years on, Trump is taking his jackhammers to the checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution, and the very notion that a President can be held to account. Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump, during a July 25th call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, urged Zelensky “about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent” Joe Biden, whose son Hunter had business interests in the Slavic country. The contents of the July call are the subject of a complaint, by an anonymous intelligence whistle-blower, which the Trump Administration has refused to pass along to Congress.

After having been subjected to a two-year investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller into whether he, or any of his associates, conspired with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election, Trump might be expected to be somewhat sensitive to the suggestion that he urged another foreign country to dig up dirt on a possible Presidential opponent. Not a bit of it. During a back-and-forth with reporters at the White House on Sunday, he openly admitted that he brought up Biden during his call with Zelenksy. The subject of the call was “largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice-President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,” Trump said.

Asked about the other critical issue—whether he withheld two hundred and fifty million dollars in military aid to squeeze the Ukrainian leader—Trump said that he wanted Germany and France to pay more. That wasn't a denial, either; it sounded more like a cover story. And on Monday Trump appeared to acknowledge that the aid money did come up during his conversation with Zelensky. “It’s very important to talk about corruption,” Trump said when he was asked again about the July call. “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country you think is corrupt?"

There you have it. To the charge that he used the power of his office to try to get dirt on a domestic political opponent, Trump’s response is the same as it was when he was accused of demolishing the friezes: Yes, I did it. So what? To charges that he dangled U.S. aid as part of a squeeze play, he says the money was indeed linked to the corruption issue, which, to him and Giuliani, meant trying to pin some discredited corruption charges on Biden.

Again, none of this should be shocking. Trump adopted the same unapologetic and defiant stance after he urged Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, after he fired an F.B.I. director who refused to give him a pledge of loyalty, and after he publicly backed Vladimir Putin over the entire U.S. intelligence community. The effort to turn the Ukraine scandal into a story about Biden is also entirely familiar. During the Russia investigation, Trump and his Republican lackeys did the same thing with their attacks on John Brennan, Robert Mueller, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok. Any evidence that suggested that Trump’s campaign courted Russian help, or that he attempted to obstruct the subsequent investigation, was all part of a “witch hunt” by the “deep state”—terms that have rolled out again in recent days.

Can the Presidential wrecking ball be stopped before Trump reduces everything to rubble? Not by the laws of the land, which—he has been delighted to discover—don’t seem to apply to a sitting President. Impeachment was the remedy that James Madison and some of his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention came up with, and this could prove to be the moment at which Nancy Pelosi, losing control of her caucus, finally takes the plunge. But Madison assumed that all parties and factions in Congress would be sufficiently independent to bring a rogue President to heel. That assumption no longer applies. With most elected Republicans terrified of incurring the wrath of the MAGA hordes, it seems inconceivable that the Senate would convict Trump of impeachable offenses, regardless of the evidence.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 23, 2019, 08:38 PM (0 replies)

Facebook Shuts Down Network of Ukraine-Based, Pro-Trump Pages Recycling Russian Troll Farm Memes

Facebook Shuts Down Network of Ukraine-Based, Pro-Trump Pages Recycling Russian Troll Farm Memes
by Colin Kalmbacher | 6:39 pm, September 23rd, 2019

Facebook removed several pages supporting President Donald Trump which were managed by Ukrainians on Monday after media attention focused on their ties to the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The IRA (not to be confused with the left-wing Irish nationalist and occasional terrorist organization) is ostensibly a member of the Russian private sector but is widely believed to be influenced in part by the Kremlin. The February 16 indictment filed by former special counsel Robert Mueller alleged that thirteen individuals and various legal entities, “posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences” during the 2016 presidential election.

According to independent journalist and ThinkProgress alum Judd Legum, the legacy of IRA trolls has more or less lived on through a number of Facebook pages run by individuals based in Ukraine.

In a Popular Information post about the “complex network” of Facebook pages spreading pro-Trump memes, Legum notes that the “I Love America” Facebook page had a massive reach of “1.1 million fans, with viral content that reaches more Facebook users than some of the largest media outlets in the United States.”

All told, Legum says, the network of pro-Trump pages from the Ukraine identified in the report were able to reach more eyeballs than either the New York Times or the Washington Post.

Each of the Ukrainian pages apparently accrued large audiences by “posting memes about patriotism, Jesus, and cute dogs,” according to Legum. Eventually those pages began posting pro-Trump memes, cross-posting to other pro-Trump pages and disseminating “incendiary” content which “frequently includes misinformation.”

Per that report:

While the “I Love America” page was created in 2017, in recent weeks it has cross-posted content from explicitly pro-Trump pages, including “Click Like, if you love Donald Trump as much as we do. TRUMP 2020,” “God bless Donald Trump and God bless America,” and “God bless Donald and Melania Trump and God bless America.” All of these pages, which were created in the last few months, are managed exclusively by people based in Ukraine.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 23, 2019, 08:10 PM (4 replies)

Gun Policy Is Being Decided By Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.


Posted on Mon, Sep 23rd, 2019 by Jason Easley
Gun Policy Is Being Decided By Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.

Trump has no plan on guns, because two of his kids, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., are fighting about what the policy should be to combat gun violence.

Politico reported:

On one side is Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, and Attorney General William Barr. Both are urging the president to back new firearms restrictions — including expanded background checks for gun sales — insisting he can be the leader who succeeds on an intractable issue that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he can win back moderate suburban voters in the process, according to people involved in the discussions.

On the other side, a group that includes Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son and an avid hunter, and a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, is telling Trump he risks losing support from his conservative base if he pushes too aggressively on new gun control legislation, they say.


But Toomey said he was unclear what Ivanka Trump’s capacity was in the talks. “I have spoken with her about it, but I don’t know what role she’s playing at the White House,” Toomey said.

People are dying in mass shootings on a regular basis, and the White House has no official policy response, because the president’s two kids, neither of whom work for the government in an official capacity, are fighting about what to do next.

Trump sells himself as the great decisionmaker, but he can’t even settle an argument between his kids.

Children of presidents should not be making major policy decisions.

Republicans in the Senate have handed over all of their legislating power to Trump, and Trump is letting his kids decide what the country is going to do about gun violence. This is not how representative democracy is supposed to work. Don Jr. and Ivanka were elected by no one, but yet, they are in charge of coming up with the Republican policy response on guns.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 23, 2019, 01:07 PM (3 replies)

Just how far will Republicans let Donald Trump go?


Just how far will Republicans let Donald Trump go?
09/23/19 10:10 AM
By Steve Benen

To overlook Donald Trump’s latest scandal is to let blind partisan loyalty override any sense of judgment and propriety. There are some elements of the controversy that still need to come into focus, but the available evidence already paints an ugly picture – featuring a president who appeared to have abused his power and pressed a foreign government to intervene on his behalf in an American election. There are related questions about possible extortion.

In Democratic circles, the volume on the impeachment knob is approaching 11, but what about Republicans? It’s safe to say they’ve been quite a bit more reticent.


Trump will go as far as his party will allow him to go, and if recent history is any guide, congressional Republicans are generally prepared to let the president do as he pleases.

It’s likely we’ll see this latest scandal unfold in the same way. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) appeared on Fox News on Friday, conceding he doesn’t know “the actual facts,” but nevertheless telling viewers he sees the controversy as a “deep state” conspiracy.

A few hours later, The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein added, “Every time Trump breaks a window, Republicans in Congress obediently sweep up the glass.”

The consequences of such obedience for our system of government are staggering.

Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 23, 2019, 01:02 PM (34 replies)
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