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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
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Berliners are trolling Trump by shipping him a 2.7-ton piece of the Berlin Wall

Berliners are trolling Trump by shipping him a 2.7-ton piece of the Berlin Wall
By Max de Haldevang & Justin Rohrlich
4 hours ago
Pix @ link~

US president Donald Trump will be receiving a special gift from Berlin residents on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—a 2.7-ton section of the wall itself.

The stunt is squarely directed at Trump’s vow to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, a part of his “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

“We would like to give you one of the last pieces of the failed Berlin Wall to commemorate the United States’ dedication to building a world without walls,” says a message painted on the concrete slab, which is signed by “Citizens of Berlin.”

“Germany is united again and in Berlin only a few scattered pieces remind us that no wall lasts forever.”

The project’s orchestrators, Berlin-based pro-democracy nonprofit Die Offene Gesellshaft, said they informed the White House about the project earlier this week, but have yet to hear whether the gift will be accepted. They plan to hand over the section on the evening of Nov. 9, marking exactly 30 years since the wall fell.

“If the President accepts the letter, it’s his. But gifts to a sitting president always belong to the United States and not to the individual in office. It belongs to the people,” Die Offene Gesellshaft managing director Philip Husemann told Quartz. “So we hope this letter will end up in a public place where all citizens can read it. After all, the main message is a big ‘thank you’ from the Berliners to the United States and its people.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a query as to whether they will accept it.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 08:00 PM (7 replies)

Adam Schiff Gives Republicans 72 Hours To Name Witnesses They Want For Public Hearings


11/08/19 9:21am
Adam Schiff Gives Republicans 72 Hours To Name Witnesses They Want For Public Hearings
In a letter issued on Wednesday morning, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff wrote to unabashed Trump defender Rep. Devin Nunes to make it clear that if the Republicans have any witnesses they want to appear, they had 72 hours to put their names on the list.
By Mark Sumner

Democrats are moving fast on the impeachment inquiry—and demanding the same of Republicans. In a letter issued on Wednesday morning, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff wrote to unabashed Trump defender Rep. Devin Nunes to make it clear that if the Republicans have any witnesses they want to appear, they had 72 hours to put their names on the list. And the clock is ticking.

Schiff’s letter makes it clear that Democrats don’t intend to call every witness who appeared for a closed-door deposition during the public sessions, but Republicans are free to do so if they wish. However, despite all the complaints that Republicans have made about having exactly the kind of hearings that the rules they set out demanded, and demanding that witnesses appear in public, no one expects them to go through the list of recent witnesses to make sure they all take the stand in front of cameras.

Earlier reporting suggested that Republicans intend to fill the hearings with dozens of witnesses who have no knowledge of any actions connected to the impeachment, but who would repeat conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, the DNC, the whistleblower, and others for the purpose of filling both the air time and congressional record with nonsense. However, the rules for the upcoming round of public hearings require witnesses to be named in advance, and the purpose of each witness needs to be justified. So if Nunes wants to have anyone come for noise-making purposes, he has to lay out the who and why. And Schiff’s letter indicates that the reason provided needs to address one of the three narrow areas on which inquiry is based.

Did Trump request that Ukraine open an investigation designed to manufacture evidence against a candidate in the 2020 election?

Did Trump, or people working for Trump, apply pressure to Ukraine to advance Trump’s political interests?

Did Trump, or people working from Trump, attempt to obstruct the impeachment inquiry?

If a potential witness can address one of those questions, and Nunes gets their name to Schiff before 11:20 ET on Saturday, Nov. 9, they can join the roster of witnesses to be subpoenaed. And please, put Rudy Giuliani on that list. Or Trump. That really would be a “perfect call.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 04:31 PM (6 replies)

digby: Looks Like GOP Might Run With the "Moron Defense" for Trump


Friday, November 08, 2019
by Salon
Looks Like GOP Might Run With the "Moron Defense" for Trump
Exhausted Republicans have given up on the claim that Trump did nothing wrong. All they've got left is "he's dumb."
by Heather Digby Parton


More than half a dozen witnesses have now testified that the quid pro quo was discussed constantly and caused a full-blown uproar among the Foreign Service professionals. Graham remained the good soldier, parroting Trump's language but not sounding terribly convincing. On Oct. 25, he said: "He's telling me that the phone call was perfect. I'm saying the phone call was OK with me."

On Tuesday of this week, Graham finally threw up his hands, saying, "I've written the whole process off. I think this is a bunch of BS," telling reporters he won't even read any of the transcripts — the same ones he had previously clamored for Democrats to release. But by Wednesday, he was taking yet another tack:

This has become known as the "moron defense," which holds that the president is too dumb to commit all the crimes it appears he has committed. So far, Graham's the only one I've heard articulate that defense in this case and I would guess that's because it's bound to make Trump livid. You may have noticed that he sees himself as a "very stable genius" and he'd probably rather be impeached than hear Republicans say that he was too stupid to have committed a crime. Which really is stupid, but there we are.


Finally, we have the working White House impeachment war room that will almost certainly handle Trump's defense on an official basis. Its two arms would be Fox News and the Twitter feed of Donald Trump Jr. The New York Times did a deep dive into the swift-boat campaign against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified in the impeachment inquiry last week. Trump Jr and Fox News host Pete Hegseth played a big part in spreading an easily rebutted smear that bubbled up through the right-wing fever swamp. Don Jr. has also tweeted out the name of the purported CIA whistleblower, whom Trump and his henchmen have been trashing nonstop. Whatever happens going forward, we can be sure that Trump family Twitter feeds will play a big part in defending the president throughout the impeachment process.

Lindsey Graham says Trump's Ukraine policy was incoherent. It wasn't. He knew what he wanted. But the strategy to defend the president in this impeachment proceeding is certainly incoherent at this point. He will probably survive a trial in the Senate, but none of his defenders are going to come out looking any better than he does. The central fact they can't accept is that his behavior was indefensible.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 03:44 PM (4 replies)

PBS Providing Multiplatform Coverage of Trump Impeachment Hearings


PBS Providing Multiplatform Coverage of Trump Impeachment Hearings
Coverage of Watergate hearings made star of Ervin

John Eggerton
3 hours ago

PBS, whose coverage of the Watergate hearings riveted the nation and made beetle-browed inquisitor Sen. Sam Ervin into a folk hero, has announced its coverage plans for the Donald Trump public impeachment hearings starting next week and it is going to provide televised coverage this time as well, with the addition of digital coverage on all its platforms.

Presiding over the hearings next week will be House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff.

“How high did the scandals reach and was President Nixon himself involved?” That was how then NewsHour co-anchor Robert MacNeil opened the Nixon hearings in May 17, 1973.

PBS will broadcast the Trump hearings live starting Nov. 13, with analysis from its new NewsHour team. As always stations make their own programming decisions, but the coverage will be available to affiliates.

The hearings will then be available on demand on all PBS digital platforms including pbs.org and the PBS video app, which is available on Apple TV, Roku and smart TVs.

The hearings will also air in prime time on WORLD, the digital channel carried by 157 public television stations (covering 64.4% of US TV households). A

PBS NewsHour and Amanpour & Company will also have "extensive coverage" of the hearings.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 03:22 PM (8 replies)

As PBS Did With Nixon, Bill Moyers Calls for Primetime Airing of Trump Impeachment Hearings


Published on Friday, November 08, 2019
by Common Dreams
As PBS Did With Nixon, Bill Moyers Calls for Primetime Airing of Trump Impeachment Hearings

"Pull out the stops once again, and for the sake of the nation, throw away the schedule," writes luminary of public broadcast journalism in full-page ad. "Who wins? Democracy—and viewers like you."
Jake Johnson, staff writer

With the House set to hold its first public impeachment hearings next week as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, renowned public broadcast journalist Bill Moyers took out a full-page ad in the Friday print edition of the New York Times calling on PBS to carry the hearings live on television and re-air them in primetime every night, just as it did during the Nixon impeachment proceedings.

"Now, during yet another great Constitutional crisis, it's time for PBS to stand up again—to air the Trump impeachment hearings live during the day and repeat them in the evening primetime hours," reads the ad (pdf), which Moyers co-authored with longtime collaborator and Common Dreams senior writing fellow Michael Winship.

"Plenty of Americans still rely on good old broadcast TV to get the word," the ad—which appears on page 5—continues. "Hearken, PBS: Pull out the stops once again, and for the sake of the nation, throw away the schedule and air the Trump impeachment hearings in prime-time. Who wins? Democracy—and viewers like you."

Read the full ad (pdf) @ link:


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 03:06 PM (29 replies)

Joe Conason: Russia Laughs: Is He "Their" President Or Ours?

Russia Laughs: Is He “Their” President Or Ours?
Joe Conason November 7, 2019

Instead of watching Fox News, which manufactures heroic propaganda about President Donald Trump, Republican voters could learn much more from seeing a few hours of Russian television. It is on shows broadcast from Moscow and St. Petersburg where the truth about the Trump administration can be heard.

The message is emphatically not “Make America Great Again.”

No, the Russian outlook articulated by Russian commentators — who faithfully reflect Kremlin policy — is that Trump’s incompetence and incoherence greatly benefit the motherland by weakening its rival America. This mocking theme has aired consistently on the top Russian TV channels for years now and has only intensified as “their” president is threatened by impeachment and electoral defeat.

Indeed, the Kremlin’s broadcasters deride Trump not only for his crude style and obvious ignorance but also for his pathetic sycophancy toward their boss, President Vladimir Putin. In August, the top Moscow news program, called 60 Minutes, featured a video mashup with clips of Trump’s speeches to depict him warbling a pop song as Putin played the piano. The meaning was clear, especially to the snickering studio audience: The American president sings and dances to the Russian president’s tune.

But that disrespectful attitude toward Trump only strengthens their determination to protect and promote him, which is why the Russian media — and their friends in the United States, from far left to far right — so staunchly oppose impeachment.

“Have you lost your minds that you want to remove our Donald Ivanovych?” asked popular talk show host Vladimir Soloviev. Figures like Soloviev frequently apply that possessive (and protective) adjective to Trump, whom they discuss as if he were literally owned by a foreign state.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 01:52 PM (0 replies)

Trump says he might attend Russia Victory Day events in May


November 8, 2019 / 10:21 AM / Updated 25 minutes ago
Trump says he might attend Russia Victory Day events in May

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was considering attending Russia’s May 9 Victory Day commemorative events after President Vladimir Putin extended an invitation.

“I appreciate the invitation. It is right in the middle of political season, so I’ll see if I can do it, but I would love to go if I could,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House for campaign-related events.

Putin presides over an annual parade to commemorate the Soviet Union’s World War Two victory over Nazi Germany, but the Kremlin has said next year’s 75th anniversary would be marked with great pomp.

Trump called it “a very big deal celebrating the end of the war.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was cited by RIA news agency as saying on Thursday that Putin’s invitation to his U.S. counterpart to attend Victory Day in Moscow had been “received with interest,” but there had not yet been any reply from the White House.

While U.S.-Russia relations have hit a low point after American intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump, the two leaders have maintained what appears to be a good relationship.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 11:36 AM (13 replies)

Mike Bloomberg Will Never Become President

Yes, from October.


Mike Bloomberg Will Never Become President
But his fifth flirtation with a run may be the most offensive yet.
by David Dayen
October 15, 2019

Michael Bloomberg has had the functionaries on his payroll not-so-discreetly float his candidacy for president for 11 years now. It began in 2008, when he attended a meeting in January of that year that I called Wankstock, a gathering of old white male politicians-turned-lobbyists for three days of peace, love, and bipartisanship. Touting an agenda of deficit reduction and “renouncing partisan bickering”— something for everyone from random senior fellows in Washington think tanks to people on his own payroll—Bloomberg soon realized that he failed to gain any traction and almost immediately declared he wouldn’t run.

Bloomberg also flirted with running in 2012, and 2016, and earlier in this 2020 cycle, after changing his registration from independent to Democrat. Each time he declined, after realizing that the appeal for a socially liberal, fiscally conservative billionaire doesn’t exist outside of Tom Friedman columns.

But now he’s back for the fifth time, as moderates see their dream of a do-nothing presidency slipping away from them. On Monday, friends of Bloomberg leaked to reporters that Joe Biden’s inability to lock down the Democratic primary has the multi-billionaire rethinking his decision to bow out of the race. If Biden drops out, he’s dropping in, according to unnamed sources.

That Bloomberg, solely by virtue of his indescribably obscene store of wealth, can generate this kind of publicity for his Hamlet act insults our collective intelligence. “I think it’s something he wants,” said one of his staff members paid to float this nonsense to CNBC. Notice that the wants of the public never show up in this analysis.


There’s a certain arrogance in anyone who sees a president staring back at them in the mirror. But Bloomberg’s decade-plus dalliance with an impossible candidacy is downright offensive. We are barely getting through someone with serious rich-guy syndrome in the Oval Office. We don’t need someone else mistaking the ability to make a bunch of money with the ability to lead.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 11:32 AM (15 replies)

The Rude Pundit: In the Trump Foundation Lawsuit, Donald Trump Admitted He Broke the Law


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
In the Trump Foundation Lawsuit, Donald Trump Admitted He Broke the Law


Today, in the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Saliann Scarpulla agreed to a settlement on a case involving Donald Trump, his three terrible older crotch spawn, and his disgraced charitable foundation. The settlement had the president of the United States admitting to breaking the law and being forced to pay a $2 million penalty. Those laws include "breach of fiduciary duty and waste under New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law" and "failure properly to administer Foundation assets and waste under New York’s Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law."

The decision goes on, "A review of the record, including the factual admissions in the Final
Stipulation, establishes that Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation and
that waste occurred to the Foundation." I'm no fancy lawyer, just a big city blogger, but that seems to me that Trump is admitting he broke the law. A "factual admission" here means that the defendant, Trump, agrees with the court.

Scarpulla gutted Trump's big 2016 show where he was going to raise and give a bunch of money to veterans: "Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign." Trump has to pay $2 million that will be distributed to charities like the United Negro College Fund and, in an in-yer-stupid-face to Trump's Nazi supporters, the U.S. Holocaust Museum.


Donald Trump is guilty of bilking people out of money, lying that it was going to help veterans' organizations and instead using charity to further his campaign. It seems like it ought to be a really big deal.

And somehow that's just supposed to be okay now and it's just another log tossed on the scandal bonfire, ready to burn into ash and blown away, forgotten, like the Trump University lawsuit, in the smoke that engulfs and chokes the whole goddamn country now.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 09:45 AM (17 replies)

Iraq veteran: We defended American democracy. Now we're asking Congress to do the same.


Iraq veteran: We defended American democracy. Now we're asking Congress to do the same.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and I took the same oath to serve America and the Constitution. And in Iraq, in October 2004, we bled on the same sand.
Alan Pitts
Opinion contributor


Our president attempted to use his office to coerce a foreign government for help in his political campaign, and put our national security at risk by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid that Congress, a coequal branch of government, had already approved on a broad, bipartisan basis. Now, the same members of Congress who approved that funding say it’s OK for President Donald Trump to make that aid contingent on help for his campaign. How is that loyalty to your country?

Unacceptable:Questioning Lt. Col. Vindman's loyalty to this country is un-American.

Last time I checked, “liberty and justice for all” meant no one is above the law. Last time I checked, “for the people, by the people” meant that our democracy was not for sale. The accusations against President Trump are gravely serious, and it’s high time everyone in our country found the courage to start treating them as such.

Don't tear us down for political games

Veterans have frequently been the ones speaking out about this administration’s abuses of power — from former special counsel Robert Mueller to acting acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, and now Alexander Vindman. If we sink to the level of attacking the intentions of those who served our country and put themselves in harm’s way for our democracy, then I don’t know where we go next. Everyone I served with had our country’s best interests at heart and they are to be respected, not torn down for political games. The stakes are too high, and no one knows that better than us.

That’s why I and dozens of other veterans are launching the nonpartisan Defend American Democracy project. From Washington state to Washington, D.C., men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for our democracy are standing up again to call on Congress to do its constitutional duty — to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Our members of Congress swore the same oath we did, and have the same duty to protect what our veterans have put their lives on the line to protect for 243 years: our Constitution and our democracy, not politics. We’ve done our part, now it’s time that our elected representatives find the courage to do theirs.

Alan Pitts, a retired Army sergeant, served from 2001 to 2006. Follow him on Twitter: @A_Pitts515
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Nov 8, 2019, 08:24 AM (7 replies)
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