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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 11:58 AM
Number of posts: 31,158

Journal Archives

'Don't interrupt me': Avenatti wipes the floor with Alan Dershowitz and his poor record of accuracy

(5:30 is where the action begins)

Exclusive: U.S. open to lifting sanctions off aluminum giant Rusal - Mnuchin

Mnuchin’s comment was the latest indication the Trump administration was trying to aid sanctions-hit Rusal, which has taken a series of steps to try to appease the U.S. government and get the restrictions lifted.

The U.S. Treasury in April imposed sanctions against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and the eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including Rusal, in response to what it called “malign activities” by Russia. But the sanctions caused havoc in the global aluminum market, prompting several countries and companies to successfully lobby Treasury for a softening of the terms on Rusal.

“The company has approached us on certain de-listing issues (from the Specially Designated Nationals List),” Mnuchin said in an interview with Reuters in Săo Paulo ahead of G20 finance meetings this weekend in Argentina.

“I’m not going to go into the exact specifics of what those proposals are and where we stand on them, but, yes, if we can find an acceptable solution, that is our objective,” Mnuchin said.



The Heartbreak of Raising a Black Daughter in a Red State

Nearly two years ago, I moved with my daughter, who was then 7, from Yonkers to a small town in Pennsylvania. It’s minutes outside of New Jersey, but right in the heart of Donald Trump’s America. Sixty-one percent of the people in my county voted for him.

Drive through most communities in my town and you’ll still see large blue Trump campaign signs on perfectly manicured lawns. Chances are, you’ll spot at least two newer-model pickup trucks with Confederate flag license plate frames. As I, a black woman, move through my daily routine, I exchange nonverbal social pleasantries with my neighbors — gestures that are calculated to avoid the kind of actual conversation that could quickly become uncomfortable. A quick nod. A small smile. But all the unspoken words that haunt my interactions in stores and on sidewalks seem to fall freely from children’s lips on the school playground.

Raising a brown girl in a solidly red area of a red state is giving me a front-row view of the way the current political climate is affecting young children.

In the past few months, it seems, there is a new, sad, pithy hashtag trending every week or so — a white person calling the police on a black family barbecuing, a black boy mowing a lawn or a little black girl selling bottled water. The interactions are dangerous and also send a dangerous message to children: There are people who believe you don’t belong here. That’s the message I worry my daughter will get every time we drive to school behind a car with a Confederate flag bumper sticker, and worse — when she’s with her classmates and I’m not there to protect her.


What to Make of the Carter Page FISA Applications

The Carter Page FISAs are out via the Freedom of Information Act. Here are a few observations, relatively brief but still just a bit too long for Twitter.

First, a huge amount of information is redacted in these FISA applications, but they still represent a monumental disclosure to the public. The government considers FISA applications to be very sensitive—and their disclosure, even heavily redacted, may have long-term, programmatic consequences long after we’re finished with President Trump. The government seems to have accepted that FOIA applies to FISA. Without taking a position on the issue it made me recall this Lawfare post that argues to the contrary.

Second, for those who don’t remember, the controversy about these FISA applications first arose in February when House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes released a memo claiming that the FBI misled the FISA Court about Christopher Steele, the former British secret agent who compiled the “dossier” on Trump-Russia ties and who was a source of information in the FISA applications on Page. The main complaint in the Nunes memo was that FBI whitewashed Steele—that the FISA applications did not “disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials.”

In response to the Nunes memo, the Democrats on the committee released their own memo. That memo quoted from parts of the FISA applications, including a footnote in which the FBI explained that Steele was hired to “conduct research regarding Candidate #1,” Donald Trump, and Trump’s “ties to Russia,” and that the man who hired him was “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit [Trump’s] campaign.”


Trump: Carter Page surveillance applications 'confirm' officials 'misled the courts'

Source: The Hill

President Trump said early Sunday that documents related to the surveillance warrants on former campaign adviser Carter Page “confirm with little doubt” that officials “misled the courts.”

“Congratulations to @JudicialWatch and @TomFitton on being successful in getting the Carter Page FISA documents. As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of “Justice” and FBI misled the courts,” he tweeted. “Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”

“Looking more & more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Ask her how that worked out - she did better with Crazy Bernie. Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!” he said in a subsequent tweet.

The heavily redacted materials released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Saturday indicate that the FBI "believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government ... to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law."

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/398225-trump-on-carter-page-surveillance-applications-witch-hunt-rigged-a


Babushka Droll

U.S. intelligence chief Coats says no disrespect intended toward Trump over Russia summit news

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. director of intelligence Dan Coats said on Saturday he in no way meant to be disrespectful toward President Donald Trump with what he called his “awkward response” to news of a second planned Trump summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Coats issued a statement seeking to control the damage from an interview he gave at the Aspen Institute security forum in Colorado on Thursday in which he expressed surprise when the news broke that Trump was planning another Putin summit.

“Some press coverage has mis-characterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview. My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president,” Coats said.

“I and the entire intel(ligence) community are committed to providing the best possible intelligence to inform and support President Trump’s ongoing efforts to prevent Russian meddling in our upcoming elections, to build strong relationships internationally in order to maintain peace, denuclearize dangerous regimes and protect our nation and our allies,” Coats added in his statement.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-coats/u-s-intelligence-chief-coats-says-no-disrespect-intended-toward-trump-over-russia-summit-news-idUSKBN1KB0UL?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

Kavanaugh: Watergate tapes decision may have been wrong

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh suggested several years ago that the unanimous high court ruling in 1974 that forced President Richard Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes, leading to the end of his presidency, may have been wrongly decided.

Kavanaugh was taking part in a roundtable discussion with other lawyers when he said at three different points that the decision in U.S. v. Nixon, which marked limits on a president’s ability to withhold information needed for a criminal prosecution, may have come out the wrong way.

A 1999 magazine article about the roundtable was part of thousands of pages of documents that Kavanaugh has provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the confirmation process. The committee released the documents on Saturday.

Kavanaugh’s belief in robust executive authority already is front and center in his nomination by President Donald Trump to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The issue could assume even greater importance if special counsel Robert Mueller seeks to force Trump to testify in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Read more: https://apnews.com/3ea406469d344dd8b2527aed92da6365

Michael Cohen privately questions Trump's fitness to be president

Source: Axios

Friends of Michael Cohen have noticed that since Trump's Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin he's been more openly questioning Trump's fitness to be president. "It's one thing for him [Cohen] to be concerned about his suitability to be president," a source familiar with Cohen's thinking told me. "It's quite another thing to be concerned about his [Trump's] loyalty to his country."

The source added that Cohen was sending a public signal to this effect when he tweeted, on Monday after Trump's Helsinki press conference: "As I said to @ABC @GStephanopoulos, "I respect our nation's intelligence agencies who determined that Russia, had in fact, interfered or meddled in our democratic process. I repudiate Russia's effort...and call on all Americans to do the same."

Why this matters: The Trump-Cohen relationship broke down a while ago, but now the investigation of Cohen is heating up — with the NYT reveling that Cohen secretly taped Trump — the two have dispensed with the public pretense of loyalty.

The question of what Cohen knows about Trump is now a far more compelling question than it was in the days when Cohen would tell anybody who'd listen that he'd take a bullet — and, no doubt, lie — for his boss.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/michael-cohen-questions-trumps-fitness-to-be-president-e1ce27b0-414b-4e26-b135-4996687dc06e.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twsocialshare&utm_campaign=organic

How Traveling With a Guide Dog Opens Up a Whole New World

I remember the first time I went to the airport with my guide dog Corky. She was on the job, guiding me through throngs of harried passengers, head up, tail wagging, relishing her job. I knew she’d be focused, after all, in training we’d worked together in Midtown Manhattan and she’d been alert and focused. She’d be just the same in the United terminal at JFK. Suddenly a man approached us. By his accent he seemed German. “Excuse me,” he said, “but I’ve been so much missing my dog.”

If you go everywhere with a guide dog, as I do, you soon find you’re more than just a blind traveler: often you’re an impromptu provider of animal comfort to strangers. After twenty plus years of working with my guide dogs around the world I’ve come to understand how deprived of animal contact millions of people really are.

Human beings are meant to have animals in their lives, and while pet ownership in the US is at an all-time high, I’m often approached by strangers—on sidewalks, in airports—who say roughly the same thing: “I wish I could have a dog but my landlord won’t allow it.” Or: “I have to travel for my livelihood and I can’t have an animal.” Or: “Can I pet your dog?”

Now, as a public service I will tell you that a guide dog mustn’t be petted or distracted when it’s working and it is always working while wearing its recognizable harness. But when that harness comes off? The dog knows its love time. And I shouldn’t admit this: but I sometimes take off my guide dog’s harness just to let these folks pet her.


“Our new dogs require praise—lots of praise,” said Linda. “It’s all in the voice. Nowadays a guide dog loves it when you say, ‘Good dog’ with a tone of true joy. Try it!” And we all said, “Good dog,” just as Linda had shown us.

In that moment, Corky raised her face to look at me, her big yellow snout pointing straight up. And every dog in the room looked up at their respective human. Something palpable went around our circle—the star of praise that only dogs can see was released by our voices. “Good dog!” We said it again and again. Our overdramatized tones were like stylized laughter in an opera. All tails were wagging.

Excerpted with permission from Have Dog Will Travel: A Poet's Journey by Stephen Kuusisto. Courtesy of Simon & Schuster.


Confession: After reading this, I said "good girl" to my pal numerous times and gave her some scritches.
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