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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Journal Archives

McEnany: "Right decision" not to brief Trump on Russian bounty intelligence


33 mins ago - Politics & Policy
McEnany: "Right decision" not to brief Trump on Russian bounty intelligence
Orion Rummler

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that the career CIA officer who chose not to verbally brief President Trump on the intelligence about alleged Russian bounties made "the right decision."

Driving the news: National security adviser Robert O'Brien told Fox News earlier Wednesday that "once the U.S. received raw intelligence on the Russian bounties, U.S. and coalition forces were made aware even though the intelligence wasn't verified."

"The DOD came out and said as soon as we had this information, we made sure that we had tactics in place, that we took protective measures, to look after our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Afghanistan. That hasn't been reported. That was done right," O'Brien said.

"Here at the White House, when we had this raw intelligence, we started an interagency process to look at options, so that if the intelligence turned out to be verified, if it could be corroborated, then we'd have options to go to the president with to address the Russian situation."


Worth noting: The New York Times has reported that the intelligence was in the written President's Daily Brief in February, which Trump has been reported to seldom read.

What she's saying: "Until there's a strategic decision for the president to make, until it is verified, it is not briefed up to the president of the United States, that's how intelligence works," McEnany told reporters.

"The president believes in and has great faith in Ambassador O'Brien and the others who made the decision that this shouldn't be risen to his desk. It was a career CIA officer with more than 30 years of tenure who made the decision not to brief it up, and the national security adviser agreed with that decision."

"She's an excellent officer and does great work and made the decision not to brief it up. It was the right decision to make, and at this moment, as I speak to you, it is still unverified," McEnany said.

Flashback: McEnany condemned the New York Times on Tuesday for publishing "unverified" allegations about intelligence on the reported Russian bounties, suggesting that "rogue intelligence officers" are undermining Trump and the country's security.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jul 1, 2020, 06:21 PM (11 replies)

Florida Sheriff floats deputizing all gun owners in county to battle protests

Florida Sheriff floats deputizing all gun owners in county to battle protests
The three minute video is full of the bluster that traditionally plays well in Clay.
By A.G. Gancarski
on July 1, 2020

A Northeast Florida Sheriff facing a competitive primary used department resources to make a self-promotional video this week under the guise of combatting civil unrest.

The message to would-be protesters: “You’ve been warned.”

(The message to political opponents, meanwhile, is one of the power and prerogatives of incumbency, especially in a crowded field of candidates.)

Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels released Tuesday a red meat video vowing to, if needed, deputize gun owners in the event Black Lives Matter protesters came into the county.

“Somebody has to step up in front of the camera and say ‘enough is enough,'” said Daniels, vowing that “if we can’t handle you …. I’ll make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county.”

The warning (not a “threat,” Daniels says repeatedly), is especially interesting, given that Camp Blanding, from which the National Guard could deploy as it did during riots in actual cities, is in the county.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jul 1, 2020, 01:07 PM (28 replies)

Exclusive: Hundreds of George W. Bush administration officials to back Biden, group says

July 1, 2020 / 5:11 AM / Updated 2 hours ago
Exclusive: Hundreds of George W. Bush administration officials to back Biden, group says
Tim Reid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of officials who worked for former Republican President George W. Bush are set to endorse Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden, people involved in the effort said, the latest Republican-led group coming out to oppose the re-election of Donald Trump.

The officials, who include Cabinet secretaries and other senior people in the Bush administration, have formed a political action committee - 43 Alumni for Biden - to support the former vice president in his Nov. 3 race, three organizers of the group told Reuters. Bush was the country’s 43rd president.

The Super PAC will launch on Wednesday with a website and Facebook page, they said. It plans to release “testimonial videos” praising Biden from high-profile Republicans and will hold get-out-the-vote efforts in the most competitive states.

The group is the latest of a number of Republican organizations opposing Trump’s re-election, yet another sign that he has alienated some in his own party, most recently with his response to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans.

“We know what is normal and what is abnormal, and what we are seeing is highly abnormal. The president is a danger,” said Jennifer Millikin, one of the 43 Alumni organizers, who worked on Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign and later in the General Services Administration.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jul 1, 2020, 07:09 AM (8 replies)

Supreme Court allows Trump administration to resume federal executions after 17-year pause

Supreme Court allows Trump administration to resume federal executions after 17-year pause
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday June 30, 2020 · 1:01 PM EDT

Though it was buried in yet another frantic news day, on Monday the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to resume federal executions by letting stand an appeals court ruling allowing the same. After a 17-year pause, the 60 prisoners on federal death row will now face new execution dates.

It was Attorney General William Barr, of course, who had indicated that his department would be lifting the hiatus. The death penalty remains a staple of "tough on crime" conservatism despite both the cost and ineffectiveness as deterrent; surely, there is no political stance quite as manly as demanding the death of criminals.

The details of the challenges now swept aside by the Supreme Court deal with the method of execution. The letter of the law requires federal executions to be conducted according to the laws of the state the sentencing took place in, but in multiple states execution by lethal injection, the most popular method, has been put on hold because drug companies have refused to allow states to purchase their products for the purpose of killing people. (Bad publicity.) Barr instead announced that the federal government would be using a different drug, pentobarbital, regardless of state protocols. An appeals court and the Supreme Court have now green-lit that approach.

Barr's eagerness to resume state-sponsored killings is unsurprising, given his conservatism, his well-known religious fervor, and his seeming obsession with the same tenets of authoritarian rule that have governed all other dealings. It is likely he wants to be able to execute people before the November elections, to give "tough on crime" conservatives a little pick-me-up helping to justify reelecting a "delusional" idiot manchild. (Spare me the faux outrage, every conservative "pundit." Any claim that Barr is handling his office in an apolitical fashion is at this point so absurd that it would require hosing down your pants before saying it, just to avoid the subsequent severe burns.)


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 10:54 PM (10 replies)

Every Version of the Russian Bounties Story Looks Terrible for Trump


Every Version of the Russian Bounties Story Looks Terrible for Trump
No matter what the president knew, and when he knew it, this is inexcusable.
By Fred Kaplan
June 30, 20203:38 PM

It’s not yet clear if or when President Donald Trump heard or read the intelligence report that Russia was paying bounties to Taliban militias for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. But whichever version of the story is true, he and his senior advisers come off looking very bad—immoral, vaguely traitorous, astoundingly incompetent, or all three.

The most hideous version of the story is that Trump heard the report—it is well established that the finding was included in the president’s daily intelligence briefing sometime in February—and, apparently, didn’t care.


Finally, it is possible that Trump was told about the bounty payment in the oral and written versions of the briefing—and the fact just hop-skipped in and out of his brain. John Bolton’s recent memoir and Carl Bernstein’s CNN story about Trump’s phone calls with world leaders provide ample anecdotes suggesting that the president has the attention span of a fruit fly, that he flits from one subject to another with abandon, and that, during briefings, including intelligence briefings, he often does more talking than the briefer does. Those who talk more than they listen often forget what they are told.

So, on one level, the question to ask—and many in Congress, including some Republicans, are asking it—is the old saw from the Watergate inquiry: What did the president know, and when did he know it? But on another level, the answer is almost irrelevant. We have a president who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care what’s happening in the world—and a gaggle of senior advisers whose main job is to comply with his whims and cover up his inadequacies.

And all the other leaders in the world know it. That’s the peril we face, as a nation, for as long as Trump is still in power.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 07:53 PM (4 replies)

GOP Witness (Turley) Calls For Barr's Resignation If He Was Involved In Photo Op...


6/30/20 3:48am
GOP Witness Calls For Barr's Resignation If He Was Involved In Photo Op: 'Outrageous Use Of Power'
Jonathan Turley told Congress that if Attorney General William Barr was involved in the plan to clear Lafayette park for Trump's photo op he should resign.
By David

George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, a witness for House Republicans, on Monday said that Attorney General William Barr should resign if he knew about President Donald Trump’s Lafayette Square photo op before protesters were forcefully cleared from the area.

“There was evidence the plan was put into place 48 hours before,” Turley told the House Oversight Committee. “Even if those facts are true, it does not answer whether the president’s photo op played a role in the size of the perimeter, the decision to move people all the way to I Street, for example.”

“Those are things that are legitimate questions,” he continued. “If Attorney General Barr cleared that area for the purpose of the photo op, despite knowing him for many years, being a graduate of our law school, I would immediately call for him to step down because that would be an outrageous use of power.”

He added: “If this was done to intimidate people, this would be a serious problem.”

Barr, who ordered the square cleared and participated in the president’s photo op, is on record denying that he knew the event was going to take place.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 02:13 PM (12 replies)

Biden campaign staffs up from Obamaworld

Biden campaign staffs up from Obamaworld
Alexi McCammond

Joe Biden is turning to a diverse, younger generation of Obama White House alums to fill high-level campaign positions as he gears up for the general election.

Driving the news: In the past few weeks, four former staffers who worked for Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett joined Biden’s campaign.

Karine Jean-Pierre, Julie Chavez Rodríguez, and Ashley Allison all joined within one week starting May 20, in senior adviser roles.

Yohannes Abraham joined the Biden campaign's transition team in late June.

All are women or men of color. All were longtime Obama White House staffers and worked with Jarrett in different capacities in her roles including senior adviser and directing public engagement and intergovernmental affairs.

Why it matters: Biden's campaign is seeking to elevate a younger generation of Democrats and add more diversity to its top ranks after facing early criticism over the homogeneity of Biden's brain trust.

Biden allies also see a benefit to bolstering ties to Obama and his inner circle, and they say it makes sense to add people with White House experience in senior roles.

The big picture: These hires are coming on board as Obama steps up his own public engagement for Biden.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:15 PM (5 replies)

Republicans Have Been Skipping Intel Briefings

Grounds for firing the lot of them!


Republicans Have Been Skipping Intel Briefings
June 30, 2020 at 8:02 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

“Democrats see a boycott motivated by partisan politics. Republicans argue they have legitimate security concerns,” Politico reports.

“Either way, GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee have skipped all but one of the panel’s proceedings, public and private, since before Congress went into its coronavirus-lockdown in early March. And that impasse shows no signs of ending, even as the panel takes up issues like China, Covid-19 and the annual intelligence policy bill.”

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 10:54 AM (7 replies)

Sasse Says Congress Must Find Out What Trump Knew


Sasse Says Congress Must Find Out What Trump Knew
June 29, 2020 at 7:51 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) told The Hill that Congress needs to get to the bottom of what President Trump was told about Russia offering bounties to Taliban militants to kill coalition troops in Afghanistan, calling for a “proportional response” from the U.S.

Said Sasse: “I’ve been hearing from military families in Nebraska constantly for the last 36 hours and they’re livid. This is a story about the targeting of American men and women in uniform. This is about putting crosshairs on the backs of people who are fighting for our freedom. This is not about short-term politics.”

Washington Post: Republicans once again face questions over why Trump isn’t tougher on Russia.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 30, 2020, 08:01 AM (8 replies)

Companies have raised prices on 245 drugs during pandemic, advocacy group says

Companies have raised prices on 245 drugs during pandemic, advocacy group says
By James Bikales - 06/29/20 05:05 PM EDT

Pharmaceutical companies have raised prices on 245 drugs since the first U.S. coronavirus case was reported on Jan. 20, according to a report released Sunday by an advocacy group.

Sixty-one of the drugs that saw price increases are being used to treat COVID-19, and 30 are in clinical trials, the group Patients for Affordable Drugs said in its report. The price hikes are on par with increases the previous two years.

The report found that 44 inpatient drugs have seen price increases during the pandemic, including 20 drugs commonly used in intensive care units: sedatives, steroids, blood pressure medications and blood thinners.

“It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, drug corporations have continued to raise the prices of drugs critical to keeping Americans healthy and alive,” Patients for Affordable Drugs founder David Mitchell said in a statement.

“Patients are hurting from this pandemic with widespread unemployment, insurance loss, and heightened risk for COVID-19. More than ever we all need to be able to afford our medications,” added Mitchell, who is a cancer patient.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Jun 29, 2020, 08:32 PM (0 replies)
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