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Top FEC Official's Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality - ProPublica


A top Federal Election Commission official, whose division regulates campaign cash, has shown support for President Trump and has close ties to his 2016 campaign attorney, Don McGahn. Experts said the actions raise questions about impartiality.

Debbie Chacona oversees the division of the Federal Election Commission that serves as the first line of defense against illegal flows of cash in political campaigns. Its dozens of analysts sift through billions of dollars of reported contributions and expenditures, searching for any that violate the law. The work of Chacona, a civil servant, is guided by a strict ethics code and long-standing norms that employees avoid any public actions that might suggest partisan leanings.

But Chacona’s open support of President Donald Trump and her close ties to a former Republican FEC commissioner, Donald McGahn, who went on to become the 2016 Trump campaign’s top lawyer, have raised questions among agency employees and prompted at least one formal complaint. Chacona, a veteran agency staffer who has run the FEC’s Reports Analysis Division, or RAD, since 2010, has made her partisan allegiance clear in a series of public Facebook posts that include a photo of her family gathered around a “Make America Great Again” sign while attending Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

So much for draining the swamp. Replacing it with a sewer.

Heather Cox Richardson: "palpable sense of rats leaving a sinking ship"


This is a very powerful piece.

The theme of the day was the palpable sense of rats leaving a sinking ship as Republicans, administration officials, and administration-adjacent people distanced themselves from the president.

There was a foreshadowing of that exodus on Wednesday, when Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) let loose about the president in a telephone call with constituents. Sasse was an early critic of Trump but toned down his opposition significantly in the early part of the administration. On Wednesday, he reverted to his earlier position, saying he had “never been on the Trump train.” He complained about the way Trump “kisses dictators’ butts,” and went on: "The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor…. [He] mocks evangelicals behind closed doors...has treated the presidency like a business opportunity" and has "flirted with white supremacists." He said: “What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?"

The theme of abandoning the administration became apparent yesterday, when officials leaked the story that intelligence officials had warned Trump against listening to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. This was a high-level leak, and suggests that more and more staffers are starting to look for a way off the S.S. Trump.
Meanwhile, at his rally tonight in Georgia, Trump told the crowd “You should… lock up the Bidens, lock up Hillary.” The crowd then began to chant “Lock them up.” But one thing about a bully: when people finally start to turn on him, there is a stampede for the exits.

Tonight, at his Georgia rally, Trump outlined all the ways in which he was being unfairly treated, then mused: “Could you imagine if I lose?... I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know.”

Can't imagine which country he and his family could go to.... I don't think vlad would have much use for him and his cohort any more.

The Times Drops the Big One and a Modest Proposal for a Deal with Donny: Wry Wing Politics


Fascinating hypothesis.

While this latest Times piece confirms virtually everything any clear-headed adult suspected of a carnival act like Trump for the past 30 years, it will likely mean nothing to MAGA nation, assuming they even hear a word about it in their thickly-insulated echo chamber. But the moderator of next Tuesday’s first debate, Chris Wallace of FoxNews, will commit journalistic malpractice if he doesn’t push Trump on what is in the Times story.

...all the noise Trump (and Bill Barr) have been making about the “rigged” election and “getting rid of the ballots” and the “continuation” is a tactical device to build leverage for a “deal” with Biden once Trump is defeated. (I’ve written about this before, because I think it is palpable likelihood. Like a layer of flop sweat forming under a bad con man’s comb over.)

As today’s Times story lays out, Trump is in (ridiculously) deep debt, with huge bills coming due in the next couple years, for which he is personally on the hook. And the tab gets bigger if he loses his much-referenced tax audit (over $100 million including penalties), and bigger still if New York and god knows how many stiffed contractors, harassed women, former employees go after him … hard … post the immunity of the White House.

Trump desperately … and I do mean desperately … needs a way out of this looming apocalypse. One way is if he wins the election. But barring that he needs something like blanket immunity from the state of New York. And that would mean striking … a deal.

As I’ve said before, only a hopeless idiot would enter into any deal with Trump that didn’t have airtight conditions and abusive-level penalties.

So this is my proposal:

Trump agrees to concede the election. In return, the Biden administration, in union with Andrew Cuomo and Vance in New York set the following conditions for Trump — and his family, (since Ivanka and the boys appear to have fat chunks of fraud splatter in their laps as well) — to avoid prosecution.

The deal requires Trump to submit to a public interrogation by tax and white collar fraud attorney/prosecutors into any and all of his business dealings, from the time he took over from his father through to today. This would include everything involving the Russians, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Turks, and any other thug-ocracy he’s been trolling for loose change.

It also stipulates “the deal” is voided the second Trump lies, “misstates” or “mischaracterizes” any pertinent fact.

Why “public”?

Because the story of Trump and the foundational lies of Trumpism has to be told. It has to be admitted to and confessed by Trump himself. History has to be written by the winners … from the mouth of the loser.

Gellman’s post-election hellscape is based on the premise that “we will never know”. That the fog and stench of Trumpism and Federalist Society Bill Barr-ism is desaigned to prevent anything from ever being truly knowable. (Such is Putin’s game in Russia.)

I believe Adam Schiff for one will eloquently argue that accepting anything less than a full peeling of the Trump myth simply enables a smarter, less louche and preposterous Trump from picking up the pieces and starting all over again. Even the most oblivious and deficient Trumper has to be presented with stark evidence that they’ve been conned … again.

Thirty nine percent will ignore the Times’ tax blockbuster and/or dismiss it as “fake news”, and Biden still needs a solid victory in Florida election night and a landslide overall to neuter any plausible claim Trump and Barr might present.

But the basis is now visibly forming to squeeze Trump into a corner from which his only escape is a Walk of Shame, to reference the entirely apt “Game of Thrones.”

Repeat After Me, "It Will Never Be 'Normal' Again." : Wry Wing Politics

Good article (IMHO)

Forget raining, it’s pouring Trump scandal books. The past few days I’ve been toggling between Jeffrey Toobin’s, “True Crimes and Misdemeanors” and Brian Stelter’s, “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.”

There are separate discussions to be had about both, as there are over Bob Woodward’s “Rage”, the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt’s, “Donald Trump v. The United States” and top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissman’s “Where the Law Ends.”

But one stark takeaway from Toobin and Stelter is how completely unprepared “the establishment” was for Donald Trump. More to the point both are argue, is how unprepared traditional legal bureaucracies and journalism organizations still are even today, nearly four years and 20,000 lies after Trump was elected … the first time.

The Eisenhower-era of journalism, courts and politics is long gone. And we’re at a point, right now today where tradition-groomed and bound judges, politicians and journalists are have to ask themselves if they’re really going to play this moment as Robert Mueller did? Are they going to continue to respect the “norms” of their professions, all of which have been mocked, abused and degraded by Donald Trump, in the anachronistic hope that eventually, at some point, if not now, November or a decade from now, normal respect for tradition will prevail again?

And Who Would Be The Donald's Real "Losers" and "Suckers"? - Brian Lambert


A good read with some interesting ideas.
Even before we got to the “losers” and “suckers” phase of The Donald Trump Experience we already knew this election was set in cement. Nothing is going to stop 39% of the American voting age population from idolizing a narcissistic reality TV performer. That 39% can almost be described as “genetic”, certainly figuratively and quite possibly literally.

To be specific, about the likelihood that the 39% is an evolutionary standard, possibly millions of years old. There have been studies of the psychological manifestations of an overactive, which is say, “differently wired” amygdala, the brain’s physical center for controlling emotions. A bit more active than “normal” and the fight-or flight mechanism is more hair-trigger and less reflective.

As scientists have said, ruefully in many cases, it’s an open question whether in evolutionary terms this 39% represents the portion of the species that survives what comes next and therefore passes on its DNA, or whether it fades away, an unadaptive anachronism, like wooly mammoths, dodo birds and our prehensile tails.

The immediate problem of course is what damage this highly instinctive, highly reactive, all but completely unreflective allegiance to the biggest ape’s constant false alarms does to the tribe in general.

Former Daily Caller Editor Reveals He Was Forced to Publish Oleg Deripaska


In the wake of the Senate Intelligence Report’s scathing description of Oleg Deripaska’s key role in Russia’s 2016 election interference, a former editor from the Daily Caller, Eric Owens, reveals that his bosses — Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel — forced him to publish an Oleg Deripaska column that he recognized as sloppy propaganda.

Back in 2018, I was the opinion editor for The Daily Caller. I had worked for the website for about five years as a journalist and editor. I really believed in what we were doing. I believed in what founders Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel said they were building. (More on that later.)

In early March 2018, Deripaska submitted an opinion piece to The Daily Caller. He didn’t submit it directly to me or through the Caller’s conventional submissions process. Presumably, villainous Russian billionaires are above such hoi polloi procedures. Instead, Daily Caller publisher Patel contacted me directly one day saying he had received Deripaska’s op-ed. He wanted to know how I felt about it.

I hated it. Anyone with a passing knowledge of European politics would know who Deripaska is and what he represents. I had been in the U.S. foreign service for a bit, so, of course, I knew.

More importantly, Deripaska’s op-ed itself was—and remains—an extraordinary exercise in audacious Russian propaganda.


n the case of the 2018 Deripaska op-ed, which I myself published and placed despite my own doubts and qualms, The Daily Caller was the plaything of a Russian billionaire working directly with Russian spies who used conservative media to spout completely false and fabulous conspiracy theories.

Tucker Carlson. A known Russian asset. And groomed to be a star in the New GOP.

Via MW: Place Your Bets: What's Trump's October Surprise?


It’s become something of a American tradition — candidates pull something out of their asses in October which resets the calculus by which swing voters calibrate their darts before they aim at the board of presidential candidates.

... List of past surprises ...

First three of many:
I think there will be weekly waves of “facts” from the ‘stuff ‘that Rudy has been fiddling with from Ukraine, Turkey, Italy, Vienna. Notice how he has been radio silent for the most part this summer ? Keeping his powder dry.

With August surprises unfolding, redwoods burning, maybe two hurricanes bearing down on the Gulf coast, still, my foggy crystal
conjures Nikki Haley replacing Pence in early October.

hmmm (scratching head)…Billy Barr announces the international Deep State/Pedophile ring has been busted, resulting in indictments of well-known public figures. Trump becomes God/King officially, his 2nd amendment people invade blue cities and incite senseless violence and oh, the election is called off, because well, it’s no longer needed.

What's your favorite POS that the orange turd and friends will pull?

California GOP Consultant Rues 'Big Mistake' That Led to Family's COVID Infections

Source: Kaiser Health News

SACRAMENTO — The tweet Richard Costigan posted July 23 was bluntly honest: “We tried our best to limit exposure to #COVID19 but we slipped up somewhere.”

Costigan tweeted while waiting anxiously in the parking lot of a hospital outside Sacramento. The veteran Republican political consultant had just dropped his wife, Gloria, off at the emergency room. He wasn’t allowed to go in with her.

But they didn’t wear masks, he said, and family members went in and out of the house to grab drinks and use the restroom. “We thought we’d done everything right, and we screwed up,” Costigan said in a July 29 phone interview. “We made a big mistake.”

Now seven of the 10 family members who attended that backyard gathering are sick. Emma and Andrew don’t have any symptoms but haven’t been tested. Exactly who introduced COVID-19 to the group is unclear. No one showed signs of sickness at the time. The first person to become sick was Gloria’s sister, then her niece — then her mom.

Read more: https://khn.org/news/california-gop-consultant-rues-big-mistake-that-led-to-familys-covid-infections/

I have some respect for a (r)epuglicon that can admit some blame, some personal responsibility. Rare.

I’ve been taking flak from friends of mine because I’ve been posting “wear a mask.” Wearing a mask — somehow it has become a freedom issue. It’s not a grand conspiracy. Wearing a mask is a simple thing to do to prevent someone else from getting sick. I do not understand how this has turned into a political issue. The government has a role to play. This is a health care crisis.

Hundreds Call Paper 'Unscholarly' and 'Racially Violent' - Medscape


Hundreds of academics, anti-poverty advocates and others have signed petitions demanding the journal Society retract a new commentary which argues, in essence, that poor Black and Hispanic people in the United States are poor because they haven't figured out how to be more white.

One petition, to the editor of the journal, Jonathan Imber, had garnered more than 550 signatories by the time of this writing. Another, to the author of the paper, the editorial board of the journal, and the CEO of Springer Nature, which publishes the journal, was at 400 and counting.

The essay, by Lawrence Mead, a public policy researcher at New York University, argues that racism and a lack of good jobs do not explain why America, the world's richest country, continues to have a problem with poverty. "More plausible," Mead states, are differences in "culture":

Link to petition:

The Atlantic: A Vaccine Reality Check - So much hope is riding on a breakthrough, but a vaccine is

is only the beginning of the end.

Should be available outside of the paywall.

Nearly five months into the pandemic, all hopes of extinguishing COVID-19 are riding on a still-hypothetical vaccine. And so a refrain has caught on: We might have to stay home—until we have a vaccine. Close schools—until we have a vaccine. Wear masks—but only until we have a vaccine. During these months of misery, this mantra has offered a small glimmer of hope. Normal life is on the other side, and we just have to wait—until we have a vaccine.

Feeding these hopes are the Trump administration’s exceedingly rosy projections of a vaccine as early as October, as well as the media’s blow-by-blow coverage of vaccine trials. Each week brings news of “early success,” “promising initial results,” and stocks rising because of “vaccine optimism.” But a COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to meet all of these high expectations. The vaccine probably won’t make the disease disappear. It certainly will not immediately return life to normal.

Biologically, a vaccine against the COVID-19 virus is unlikely to offer complete protection. Logistically, manufacturers will have to make hundreds of millions of doses while relying, perhaps, on technology never before used in vaccines and competing for basic supplies such as glass vials. Then the federal government will have to allocate doses, perhaps through a patchwork of state and local health departments with no existing infrastructure for vaccinating adults at scale. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has led vaccine distribution efforts in the past, has been strikingly absent in discussions so far—a worrying sign that the leadership failures that have characterized the American pandemic could also hamper this process. To complicate it all, 20 percent of Americans already say they will refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and with another 31 percent unsure, reaching herd immunity could be that much more difficult.

For the Americans pinning their hopes on a vaccine, a botched rollout could feel like yet another example of failure in the time of COVID-19. That could have disastrous consequences that last well beyond the pandemic itself. Brunson worries that such a scenario could undermine trust in public-health expertise and in all vaccines. “Both of those would be disasters,” she says, “in addition to the COVID itself being a disaster.” It could mean, for example, further resurgences of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and an even bigger challenge when battling future pandemics.

For all the uncertainties that remain ahead for a COVID-19 vaccine, several experts were willing to make one prediction. “I think the question that is easy to answer is, ‘Is this virus going to go away?’ And the answer to that is, ‘No,’” says Karron, the vaccine expert at Johns Hopkins. The virus is already too widespread. A vaccine could still mitigate severe cases; it could make COVID-19 easier to live with. The virus is likely here to stay, but eventually, the pandemic will end.

Not mentioned in this are the anti-vaxxers, the conspiracy-theory nutjobs, the whackos who think it's OK to have 20-30% of the population die to "thin the herd."
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