HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » babylonsister » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 196 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 162,625

Journal Archives

CHARLES PIERCE: The Night the Capitol Did Not Sleep

My sister posted this on FB. Wow, is all I can say. Mr. Pierce sure can write, as proven once again.

Edit to add link~

CHARLES PIERCE: The Night the Capitol Did Not Sleep

The end of a working day in the U.S. Capitol can come at any time. If it comes at the customary time, which is to say in the early evening, the place takes on a crepuscular feeling, as though you can hear the figures in the frescoes breathing sighs of relief and feel the marble in the floors and staircases soften beneath your feet. What was a particularly ornate office building at the height of the day passes through changes by which it becomes a not overly popular museum and then, as night truly falls, a kind of tomb in which the day’s events are interred, one after another after another, year after year.

September 24, 2019, was an odd kind of day, in that this softening night never fell. The frescoes remained silent. The marble never gave way. The very air in the place was charged even though there were few people left in the halls to charge it. After three years in which each nightmarish news cycle followed another, on September 24, it became obvious there were not successive news cycles but one continuous rush that began on Inauguration Day in 2017. The corruption in the United States government was revealed to be a single foul organism, like one of those giant, three-thousand-year-old fungi that spread over a square mile or two. On the surface, you see only the mushrooms that pop from the ground. The immense scale of the organism is hidden underground. It feeds itself by tapping into the roots of trees, which it then drains of their nutrients until the trees are consumed by a dry rot.

September 24, 2019, was the day that the deadliest poison mushroom emerged, but the sweeping subterranean organism had been hollowing out the government for three years. It was all one great creature made of greed and crime and psychological death juice, and now everybody could see how far and how deep it had spread. Over the next two days, we all got a sweeping look at the malignant growth that is the corrupt administration of Donald J. Trump. It was the day the whistleblower entered the ecosystem, and the earth opened up, and the sheer scale of it was revealed.

The whistleblower revealed that, in essence, the president was trying to shake down poor Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine—who had been feeling the hot breath of Vladimir Putin on the back of his neck from the moment he took office—for the purpose of ratfucking the 2020 election. It was all there: the contempt for the rule of law and for constitutional barriers, the personalization of foreign policy for private gain, the narcissistic insistence that he alone can run the government and turn a buck on the deal, the tailoring of foreign policy to the benefit of his friends (at best) in many lands, and the pure authoritarian bullying tied up in all of the above. Those were all the surface blooms. But this event gave us a look at the vast organism beneath the ground that subsists on the rot of living things.

The Capitol is wide awake.


This article appears in Esquire's Winter 2020 issue.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 11:44 AM (34 replies)

Ex-Deutsche Bank Exec: Bank May Have 'Destroyed' All Evidence Of Trump's Tax Returns

From October, but just a reminder. I guess we'll see who is telling the truth.


Ex-Deutsche Bank Exec: Bank May Have ‘Destroyed’ All Evidence Of Trump’s Tax Returns
by Bruce White
Oct 12, 2019

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has been attempting to make Donald Trump’s tax returns public and have been investigating Deutsche Bank to do so. But now, according to a former Deutsche Bank executive, the bank may have “destroyed” physical copies of Trump’s tax returns after they told the court that it no longer had them.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the outlets’ motion, revealing that the bank had informed the court that “the only tax returns it has for individuals and entities named in the subpoenas are not those of the president.”

But current and former bank officials told The New York Times that Deutsche Bank had portions of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.

Trump had relied on Deutsche Bank for loans for years after other financial institutions balked at doing business with his company after a series of defaults and bankruptcies.

Some of those records were obtained from Trump in 2011 when its private banking arm took on Trump as a client. A number of former bank executives reviewed the tax returns, bank officials told the outlet.

And just like Trump relied on Deutsche, Deutsche relied on information contained in the tax returns when it approved a series of loans to Trump in 2012, according to the Times.

David Enrich, the New York Times’ finance editor who spoke with the current and former bank officials, wrote that the bank “apparently got rid of” Trump’s tax returns even though officials say that it was “normal procedure at the bank to retain such records.”

When Enrich reached out to a former Deutsche Bank executive who had reviewed Trump’s tax returns about the bank’s claim that it no longer had the documents, the executive replied, “Holy f**k,” according to a screenshot of a text message exchange posted to Twitter.

The former executive suggested that the bank either “returned any physical copies or destroyed any physical copies under an agreement with a client and cleansed their servers.”

“Not normal though,” the executive added.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 10:58 AM (16 replies)

Macron Uses Toddler Reverse Psychology Trick to Fool Trump Into Supporting NATO

Edit to change/shorten link per suggestion from a friend

the national interest 9:11 A.M.
Macron Uses Toddler Reverse Psychology Trick to Fool Trump Into Supporting NATO
By Jonathan Chait

Today is another meeting of NATO, an organization Trump has denounced and undermined for years. The keenest minds in what remains of the free world have set themselves to the task of distracting Trump long enough to get through the NATO summit without dissolving the alliance in a tantrum. The Washington Post detailed the efforts leading up to the summit. The plans include flattering Trump with an elaborate dinner at Buckingham Palace, and presenting a series of trumped-up concessions to make it appear the allies have buckled to Trump’s demands by increasing their spending, thereby allowing him to claim victory rather than storming out in a huff.

The plans include “a largely symbolic concession from Germany to save U.S. cash by spending more to pay to keep NATO’s lights on — which diplomats hope Trump will seize as a victory out of proportion with its size,” and a presentation on defense spending increases cleverly cropped to make it look like they began in 2016. (Diplomats are comfortable just blurting this out to a major newspaper because they know Trump does not read articles.) The whole trick is to choreograph an elaborate ruse in which Trump will believe he forced the allies to submit to his will and won.

Amusingly, what seems to have worked instead is Emmanuel Macron’s completely different ploy. The French president gave an interview last month decrying the “brain death” of NATO, which he said had failed to account for America’s shrinking commitment under Trump.

Trump himself has called NATO “obsolete,” openly questioned whether the U.S. would come to the defense of allies under attack (the very foundation of the alliance), and privately told aides on several occasions last year he wants to withdraw from the alliance. But the notion that somebody else would question NATO, and blame its demise on Trump, has enraged him.

And now Trump is lashing out at Macron. “NATO serves a great purpose,” he declared today. “And I hear that President Macron said NATO is ‘brain dead.’ I think that’s very insulting to a lot of different forces … When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to 28 — including them — 28 countries.”

Manipulating children into doing what you want by pretending to demand they do the opposite thing is a trick most parents learn to use. It usually stops working around the age of 5.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 10:51 AM (42 replies)

Pharmacies sue drugmakers for overcharging diabetes pill


Bob Herman
2 hours ago
Pharmacies sue drugmakers for overcharging diabetes pill

Walgreens and three other pharmacy chains are suing drugmaker Bausch Health, its subsidiaries and a separate generic drugmaker for allegedly colluding on a deal that allowed the brand-name companies to maintain a longer monopoly of the diabetes drug Glumetza. The alleged deal resulted in those companies jacking up the price of the drug from $350 to more than $3,000 for a 30-day supply.

Why it matters: When combined with similar lawsuits from employer groups, the suing parties are looking to recoup more than $10 billion in overcharges from this antitrust case — another in a long line of infamous "pay-for-delay" deals over generic drugs. Bausch has said it intends "to vigorously defend these matters."
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 07:39 AM (3 replies)

NATO Is Agreeing Not to Agree in the Age of Trump


NATO Is Agreeing Not to Agree in the Age of Trump
The alliance’s leaders will meet briefly this week, with no plans to reach a consensus on any major issues.
12/02/2019 12:15 PM EST

NATO summits used to be amiable, difference-solving, bond-forging occasions. But ever since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, these events have spun out into cringeworthy spectacles of discord and disarray. Now, the allies are trying a new tack.

Instead of a formal summit, when they gather in London this week, the NATO members are holding a “leaders’ meeting,” a more ceremonial, brief affair, to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary, which was earlier this year. Trump and his counterparts will attend a reception—not even a dinner—with Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday, and they will spend just three hours in a working session on Wednesday. Importantly, they will not be required to issue a joint communiqué, as they do at formal summits. They are agreeing not to have to agree.

Not calling a meeting a “summit” might seem like a meaningless designation, but the low-key London meeting is a sign of the concern with which NATO members view the U.S. president—they seemingly are trying to keep Trump’s disruptions to a minimum. At this point, member states likely see the diminished gatherings as the only way to ride out the Trump presidency in hopes that America will one day recommit itself unequivocally to the alliance.


America’s allies appear to be doing what the recently ousted U.S. secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, pleaded for in a stinging Washington Post op-ed, asking the allies to “bear with us as we move through this moment in time.” The downgraded gatherings, the nonsummits, look like an effort to endure the Trump era and hope something better comes afterward.

In the meantime, the member states are avoiding having to reach consensus on any major issues. We already are witnessing the dangerous erosion of NATO’s ability to deter aggression, to Putin’s undoubted pleasure, and America is becoming more isolated and less able to shape global events. As NATO tries to survive, the greatest danger facing the alliance today, incredibly, is the president of the United States.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 06:56 AM (4 replies)

Joe Biden Accuses Pete Buttigieg of 'Stealing' His Health Care Plan

Not hardly.


Joe Biden Accuses Pete Buttigieg of ‘Stealing’ His Health Care Plan
Jamie Ross
Published Dec. 03, 2019 5:41AM ET

Joe Biden has accused his Democratic presidential rival Pete Buttigieg of “stealing” his health-care policy plans after the South Bend mayor leapt into first place in some recent Iowa polls.. The former vice president is proposing an extension of the Affordable Care Act, adding a “public option” that would allow individuals to opt in to a government plan while keeping the existing role of private insurers. Buttigieg has coined the phrase “Medicare for all who want it” to describe his own plans, which Biden clearly feels is a bit too familiar. “He stole it,” Biden told reporters in Iowa, adding that he would have been condemned if he’d copied someone else’s policies. “What would you have done to me? You’d have torn my ears off,” he said. Buttigieg’s campaign declined to comment on the accusation but pointed a Reuters reporter to statements from Buttigieg about “Medicare for all who want it” said ahead of Biden’s current presidential campaign.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 06:43 AM (22 replies)

Company Trump Touted Won $400 Million Contract

Kickback? Distant relative? Big donor? There's got to be a connection.


Company Trump Touted Won $400 Million Contract
December 2, 2019 at 9:21 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

“A company that President Trump urged military officials to hire for border wall construction has been awarded a $400 million contract to build a span of new barrier across an Arizona wildlife refuge,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump has repeatedly pushed for Fisher to get a wall-building contract, urging officials with the Army Corps of Engineers to pick the firm — only to be told Fisher’s bids did not meet standards. Trump’s entreaties on behalf of the company have concerned some officials who are unaccustomed to the president getting personally involved in the intricacies of government contracting.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Dec 3, 2019, 06:38 AM (12 replies)

Should Journalists Be Part of the Resistance?


Should Journalists Be Part of the Resistance?
An open letter (sort of) to the editor of the New York Times.
Monika Bauerlein
November 27, 2019

Over the past month or so, the New York Times’ executive editor, Dean Baquet, has been giving a handful of interviews about the role of journalism in general, and the New York Times in particular. One of these, with the BBC, briefly had our ears burning. “I make it very clear when I hire, I make it very clear when I talk to the staff, I’ve said it repeatedly, that we are not supposed to be the leaders of the resistance to Donald Trump,” Baquet said. “That is an untenable, nonjournalistic, immoral position for the New York Times. If I was the editor of Mother Jones, I would say otherwise.”


The fundamental mistake that conventional Washington journalism has made over the past four years is to imagine all of politics as two-dimensional—Democrat to Republican, left to right, with far too little attention to the many other fault lines that run through, across, and at a diagonal to that distinction. One of the most important of these other fault lines is the one between those who stand for democracy, with a small d, and those who abet authoritarianism and minority rule.

In that battle, journalists can’t just dispassionately chronicle two equally valid “sides.” A free press needs (and is needed by) lowercase-d democracy. We can’t exist without it.

The Times can’t and shouldn’t be part of a capital-R, partisan Resistance, but it better damn well be part of the lowercase-r resistance against authoritarianism and illiberalism. And if leaders like Baquet are worried about taking sides against the latter, they are failing (not to get grandiose, but dammit, it’s Defcon One here) their sacred mission.

This is journalism’s fight, but it’s not just ours. The people who scream “fake news” when we report the truth are the same people who attack anyone who dares to speak out online, women and people of color most of all. They literally raise money to go after individual journalists and their families. They file lawsuits against citizen activists and make local news anchors read robo-scripts. Standing up to that is not about partisanship. It’s about speaking truth to power and defending the freedom that allows us to do so.

That’s our case. But now it’s time for yours.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 2, 2019, 09:33 PM (5 replies)

Trump administration quietly releases Lebanon military aid after mysterious delay

Trump administration quietly releases Lebanon military aid after mysterious delay
The White House has yet to offer any explanation for the delay despite repeated queries from Congress.
Dec. 2, 2019, 3:31 PM EST
By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has quietly released more than $100 million in military assistance to Lebanon after months of unexplained delay that led some lawmakers to compare it to the aid for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

The $105 million in Foreign Military Financing funds for the Lebanese Armed Forces was released just before the Thanksgiving holiday and lawmakers were notified of the step on Monday, according to two congressional staffers and an administration official.

All three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly to the matter.

The money had languished in limbo at the Office of Management and Budget since September although it had already won congressional approval and had overwhelming support from the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council. The White House has yet to offer any explanation for the delay despite repeated queries from Congress.

Lawmakers such as Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., had pressed the administration since October to either release the funds or explain why it was being withheld. The State Department had notified Congress on Sept. 5 that the money would be spent.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 2, 2019, 06:43 PM (9 replies)

House Judiciary Announces Witnesses For Its First Impeachment Hearing

Jonathan Turley?


House Judiciary Announces Witnesses For Its First Impeachment Hearing
By Tierney Sneed
December 2, 2019 4:30 p.m.

The House Judiciary Committee announced Monday the four witnesses, all law professors, who will be testifying at the committee’s first impeachment hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. ET Wednesday.

The hearing is titled “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.”

Here are the witnesses:

Noah Feldman
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and Director, Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law
Harvard Law School

Pamela S. Karlan
Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
Stanford Law School

Michael Gerhardt
Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence
The University of North Carolina School of Law

Jonathan Turley
J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law
The George Washington University Law School

The White House declined an opportunity to participate in the hearing.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 2, 2019, 06:10 PM (6 replies)
Go to Page: « Prev 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 196 Next »