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As Phoenix braces for his visit, Trump may pardon Arpaio in unprecedented way

Daily Kos - 5 hours 3 min ago

Campaign Action

As Donald Trump ignores pleas from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and other local leaders to delay his rally there after his official embrace of white supremacists and Nazis following the terror attack in Charlottesville, the Daily Beast reports the popular vote loser may be readying to pardon the crooked former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his crimes in a truly unprecedented manner:

In recent days, speculation has mounted that Trump will follow through on this suggestion at a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday. Should he do so, it will be a unique moment in modern presidential politics. Trump will have given the first pardon of his presidency to someone for what appears to be purely political reasons and he will have done so without going through the normal review process. Trump has yet to name a new pardon attorney and while the vast majority of people who get presidential pardons wait for at least five years after being sentenced, Arpaio hasn’t even been sentenced yet.

Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of court for violating a federal judge’s order to stop racially profiling brown drivers in Maricopa County, hasn’t even applied for a presidential pardon yet, which means he will skip the line (you know, the way anti-immigrant nativists like him claim undocumented immigrants do) past the thousands of cases waiting to be considered.

How silly of us—don’t we know that the rules are only for the little people, not the criminally-challenged authoritarian buddies of the president?

Categories: Politics

NASA Live Stream: Watch The Eclipse

Crooks and Liars - 5 hours 3 min ago

Clouds obscuring your view? Not in the direct path of totality? Here's the next best thing -- a video live stream of the eclipse.


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Categories: Politics

Russian 'lobbyist' at Trump Tower meeting was actually asset for Russian spy services

Daily Kos - 5 hours 7 min ago

One of the last people to be identified as attendees of the Trump Tower meeting between the senior staff of Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians offering information harmful to Hillary Clinton, was Rinat Akhmetshin. Akhmetshin was identified as a lobbyist working with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya—on that pesky problem of Russian adoptions. Meaning that Akhmetshin was actually part of the team there to fight against Russian sanctions connected to the Magnitsky Act, for which “adoptions” has been the cover story used by both Russia and Trump.

But Akhmetshin turns out to have more connections to the Kremlin than just the people who promised to provide Clinton dirt.

Interviews with his associates and documents reviewed by The New York Times indicate that Mr. Akhmetshin, who is under scrutiny by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, has much deeper ties to the Russian government and Kremlin-backed oligarchs than previously known.

Since everyone who deals with Trump seems to be in bed with Russian oligarchs, including Trump, how bad can it be?

He has an association with a former deputy head of a Russian spy service, the F.S.B., and a history of working for close allies of President Vladimir V. Putin. Twice, he has worked on legal battles for Russian tycoons whose opponents suffered sophisticated hacking attacks, arousing allegations of computer espionage. He helped federal prosecutors bring corruption charges against an American businessman in the former Soviet Union who turned out to be working for the C.I.A.

Ah. That bad. It wasn’t just that the Russians promised to provide Trump with the documents they hacked from Democratic servers. They sent along the guy who had worked directly for the hackers, and directly against the CIA.

Categories: Politics

Eclipse Claims First Victim

Kevin Drum - 5 hours 18 min ago

And so it begins:

No, wait, don’t look at it!


Categories: Politics

Why Is Household Debt So High in Canada?

Kevin Drum - 5 hours 33 min ago

This is, once again, apropos of nothing in particular. I just happened to come across it:

Household debt wasn’t the driver of the financial collapse in the United States, but it certainly played a role. And since the Great Recession, households have delevered considerably, from 100 percent to about 80 percent.

But in Canada, leverage went up during the recession and has kept going up ever since. They’re now above the highest point of the US housing bubble. Is this a problem?

Categories: Politics

Katrina Pierson: 'Slavery Is Good History'

Crooks and Liars - 5 hours 35 min ago

Katrina Pierson, a top Trump surrogate during the 2016 presidential campaign compared removing Confederate statues to ISIS and told Fox and Friends that slavery was "good history" for America.

This is a low point in a malformed debate made by Trump and his supporters trying to justify his cancerous Charlottesville press conference.

F&F's co-host Ainsley Earhardt led a debate about the future of Confederate status in America and asked if Speaker Ryan will join Nancy Pelosi to take down "confederate monuments that are in the halls of Congress?"

Katrina Pierson responded by saying only ISIS does that type of thing and then began descending down a blackened path saying, "Americans actually love their history, their culture, good and bad, because it helps them learn and it helps keep people educated about why America is so great to begin with."

Stay with me.

Wendy Osefo was there to debate her and did not foresee where Pierson began on her malignant journey.

After Ainsley promoted a new poll supporting keeping the monuments where they are, Osefo gave Fox News viewers a history lesson.

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Categories: Politics

Lyin' Ryan To Finally Almost Hold A Town Hall

Crooks and Liars - 5 hours 40 min ago
Lyin' Ryan To Finally Almost Hold A Town Hall

One of the talking points that Randy Bryce has been hitting Lyin' Paul Ryan hard with is the fact that Paul Ryan shows a great disdain for his constituents. Bryce said that it's been more than 600 days since Ryan held his last public town hall meeting.

Politifact checked out this claim and found that Bryce was in error. It's been over 650 days since Ryan held a town hall meeting. Given that that article came out a month ago, it means that Ryan is closing in on the two year mark of refusing to meet with the people of his district.

Ryan doesn't understand what the big deal is, though. He's been regularly meeting with the people he represents - the Kochs, the Bradley Foundation, Sheldon Adelson, lobbyists bearing $350 bottles of wine. Y'know, the people that really matter.

Apparently, Ryan's indifference to the people has been hurting him in the polls because he's been busy trying to placate the people without actually holding a town hall. Instead, he's been having phone conferences and "safe" town halls at very controlled sites.

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Categories: Politics To Treat Online Abuse as Seriously as Hate Crime in Real Life

Slashdot - 5 hours 40 min ago
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has pledged to tackle online abuse with the same seriousness as it does hate crimes committed in the flesh. From a report: Following public concern about the increasing amount of racist, anti-religious, homophobic and transphobic attacks on social media, the CPS has today published a new set of policy documents on hate crime. This includes revised legal guidance for prosecutors on how they should make decisions on criminal charges and handle cases in court. The rules officially put online abuse on the same level as offline hate crimes -- defined as an action motivated by hostility or prejudice -- like shouting abuse at someone face-to-face. They commit the CPS to prosecuting complaints about online material "with the same robust and proactive approach used with online offending." Prosecutors are told to consider the effect on the wider community and whether to identify both the originators and the "amplifiers or disseminators."

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Categories: Misc

Monday Roundup: Why Are There Confederate Memorials In Ohio Anyway?

Plunderbund - 5 hours 42 min ago

An old-timey town crier

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting this morning that a group of Ohioans are opposed to removing a confederate memorial in Franklin, Ohio.

This obviously begs the question, why in pluperfect hell is there a confederate memorial in Ohio to remove anyway? Why are there four of them? Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan pillaged and burned his way across southern Ohio in 1863. Does Altanta have a monument to Sherman? Does Rome have a memorial to the Visigoths? The answer to both is no, and for good reason.

From the Enquirer:

The removal of a Confederate monument drew a group of protesters to Franklin on Saturday afternoon.

City officials removed the memorial to Robert E. Lee, the top Confederate general during the Civil War, in the middle of the night Thursday. It had been at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Hamilton-Middletown Road since 1927.

The group said their show of support had nothing to do with race and everything to do with history. They carried Confederate flags and signs reading, “We want our monument back.”

“I am out here supporting my history because I am tired of it being carted off like it’s a piece of trash,” one person said.

Ohio has no shortage of heroes from the Civil War to honor. Robert E. Lee is not among them.

Here’s a list of Ohioans from the Civil War worthy of memorials, monuments and statues over Lee or any other confederate rebel:

Any single one of the 6,700 black Civil War soldiers who fought for the Union. Author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe. Union Generals Ulysses S. GrantWilliam T. Sherman, and Philip H. Sheridan. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Secretary of the Treasury (and later U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Salmon P. Chase. Maj. Gen. (and later President) James A. Garfield. Maj. Gen. (and later President) Rutherford B. Hayes. U.S. Rep. John Bingham, the principal framer of the Fourteenth Amendment. Abolitionists John and Jane Rankin and Levi Coffin. U.S. Rep. Joshua Reed Giddings. U.S. Sen. Benjamin Wade. And thousands more Ohioans who gave their lives and fought for the United States of America.

If we are to honor treason – of which Lee and the rest of the confederate states are guilty – why not pick an Ohioan such as the odious Copperhead U.S. Rep. (and convicted traitor) Clement Vallandigham?

History is taught in books, museums, libraries, schools and universities. Monuments and memorials are meant to honor. Treason is not to be honored. And hell, even Robert E. Lee was against monuments to the confederacy. Wanna know why? Because he figured they would only continue to sow division. Over 150 years later, looks like he continues to be right.

Tim Ryan Eyes 2020?

Well this is interesting.

From WMUR:

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, isn’t afraid of taking on the leadership of his own party and may be considering a run for president based on what he said on WMUR’s “CloseUp” Sunday morning.

“How do we make it work? How do we make globalization work in Manchester and Youngstown, Ohio? How do we make automation and all the innovations that are happening around the country – how do we get them to create jobs in economically distressed areas that have seen a loss of manufacturing?” Ryan asked.

The question highlights Ryan’s mission to revive what some call “forgotten America.” He hopes to bring back manufacturing and break up a kind of monopoly on federal jobs in Washington, D.C.

“You take 300,000 federal workers. You take 30,000 of those workers and you put a thousand jobs in 30 different communities across the country that really need it,” he said. “What a huge shot in the arm that would be.”

Ryan has ties to New Hampshire as a graduate of Franklin Pierce Law School. He is now in his eighth term as a congressman. In 2016, he challenged House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for her seat saying the party’s brand had become toxic to many Americans.

He lost that fight, but now may have his eye on a bigger job in the Oval Office.

Sittenfeld Raising Big Bucks


Well, hello there, P.G. Sittenfeld.

Remember him? The Cincinnati city councilman made sure we haven’t forgotten about him by raising an eye-popping $315,000 the first half of this year, more than double what anyone else in the Council race has raked in.

Sittenfeld doesn’t need anywhere near that much money to be re-elected to a third term. No, this was about him making a big, bold statement that he’s back and still a star player in the Democratic Party after flying under the radar for more than a year.

“We still have a full tank of gas in the car,” Sittenfeld recently told Politics Extra.

What The Hell, Toledo Blade?

The Toledo Blade apparently thinks President Donald Trump still has a pivot toward humility, or normality, or decency in him. What are they smoking and where can I get some?

From the Blade Editorial Board:

The President faces a choice at this juncture. He can choose his persona (as the take-no-prisoners maverick) or he can choose his agenda. He can be the ultimate reality star or he can try to govern. …

To make the right choice will take some humility. The President will have to accept that he needs help and coaching. He will have to admit, at least to himself and his closest aides, that he cannot take on the entire White House press corps single handed, and daily. He will have to admit that there is much about insider politics and policy that he does not know. He will have to be more scripted. …

None of us are too old to learn, no matter how old or how grand our status. And sometimes survival itself depends upon the ability to change and grow. This is what many of the President’s friends are saying and thinking now. As Mr. Corker said, the world needs our President to succeed.

This begs another question, succeed at what? Succeed at taking health care away from 24 million people? Succeed at going to war with North Korea? Succeed at ramping up and further prolonging America’s longest war ever, in Afghanistan? Succeed at destroying environmental regulations? Succeed at shredding the social safety net? Succeed at destroying civil rights protections? Succeed at suppressing minority communities? Succeed at building that stupid fk’ing wall? Succeed at destroying and breaking up immigrant families? Succeed at giving millionaires and billionaires massive tax breaks and exploding the deficit in the process? What exactly is it in President Trump’s destructive and hurtful agenda that you want him to succeed at, Blade? Seriously.

Categories: Politics

Nasty boys don’t ever change

Balloon Juice - 5 hours 43 min ago

There’s a great article by Bill Scher explaining why Bannon lost out to the “globalists”, i.e. why Trump’s agenda will now be exactly like every other elected Republicans’ agenda, only with most racism and incompetence. I was struck by this from Bannon:

“The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia … If we deliver … we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years … Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan … It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”


Where did Bannon go wrong? His first order of business had nothing to with jobs, let alone bridging racial divisions. He played a singular role in engineering the travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries, cutting Cabinet agencies out of the loop and purposefully dropping it without warning on a Friday to stoke maximum weekend street protest from the left. Courts balked, and Republican members of Congress complained about the shoddy process. It was Trump’s first political defeat as president, a humiliating own-goal that sowed early doubts about the administration’s basic competence.

In other words, Bannon prioritized xenophobic, hippie-baiting bullshit over popular proposals. Why? Because he gets off on being an asshole.

The article goes to compare Bannon with Karl Rove:

Rove got further than Bannon did. He actually prioritized what he set out to prioritize. He met with Democrats immediately after the bitter conclusion of the 2000 election to talk education, and the No Child Left Behind Act passed with a big bipartisan vote in the spring of 2001. And he worked with Democrats again in 2003 to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

It was only the second term when Rove took on too much and saw his dreams of Republican realignment vaporize.

Rove also got off on being an asshole. I doubt he needed all that anti-gay bullshit to win in 2004, I think he did it because he, like many conservatives, likes all the prince of darkness type bullshit. He poisoned the well with that crap (and also with Swiftboating etc.), and gave the Democrats enough spine to resist his agenda.

What’s saved the country the last 20 years is that Republicans are too busy being petty assholes to destroy the country as thoroughly as they want to.

Update. To be clear, what I’m saying is that Bannon hates people of color more than he loves economic populism. (I also tend to think his brand of economic populism would be popular but probably catastrophic economically because it’s poorly thought out, so I’m glad he didn’t make much progress on it.)

Categories: Politics

Republican committees have already sunk nearly $1.3 million into Trump-owned businesses this year

Daily Kos - 5 hours 44 min ago

The Republican National Committee's latest payment of $122,000 for an event last month at Trump International Hotel in Washington is just the beginning of the cash that has been funneled straight into Trump-owned businesses by the GOP this year. The Washington Post writes:

At least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties and the Republican Governors Association have together spent more than $473,000 at Trump hotels or golf resorts this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance filings. Trump’s companies collected an additional $793,000 from the RNC and the president’s campaign committee, some of which included payments for rent and legal consulting.

The nearly $1.3 million spent by Republican political committees at Trump entities in 2017 has helped boost his company at a time when business is falling off at some core properties. Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., lost at least 10 of the 16 galas or dinner events it had been scheduled to host next winter in the wake of Trump’s controversial response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Great. So Republican coffers are propping up Trump's Florida resort even as the free market sends a message that his handling of the Charlottesville violence was repulsive. However, one property that isn't suffering any blowback is Trump's D.C. hotel, where Republican hoo-has go to curry favor with Trump.

Trump International, whose room rates appear to be the most expensive in the city, generated nearly $2 million in profit in its first four months, as The Washington Post previously reported.

In late June, an estimated 300 Trump supporters attended a $35,000-a-person RNC fundraiser at the ornate hotel, raising a reported $10 million for the party and Trump’s reelection committee. [...]

One of the biggest spenders has been Trump’s reelection committee, which has shelled out nearly $15,000 for lodging there, filings show.

But of course—all that money Trump supporters have given to re-elect this bozo is going straight back into his pocket. #MAGA

Categories: Politics

Yes, your iPhone can snap photos of today’s eclipse without a special solar filter

iDownloadBlog - 6 hours 2 min ago

You can take photographs of today’s solar eclipse with your iPhone without having to buy a special solar filter to protect the lens, a company spokesperson recently told USA Today.... Read the rest of this post here

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Categories: Misc

But Her Emails

Kevin Drum - 6 hours 8 min ago

Did the press go overboard on its coverage of Hillary Clinton’s email server?

I wish reporters would honestly engage with this question. I don’t think anyone has ever suggested that the emails and the FBI investigation weren’t a story. Of course they were. The question is, were they this big a story?

Or this big?

This question isn’t important because it’s worthwhile to relitigate 2016 forever, but because it matters for the future. The press got badly played on the Clinton Foundation story, which was almost completely baseless, and they got played only slightly less on the email story, which was kept alive by a calculated campaign to drip information to the press every week—mostly from sources that should have set alarm bells ringing instead.

Pointing out the failures of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is fine but nonresponsive. The question isn’t whether there were lots of things that decided the 2016 race—there were—or whether Clinton’s emails should have been covered at all—of course they should have been. The question is about editorial judgment in an era of widespread media manipulation. If we don’t want 2020 to be like 2016, political reporters should be willing to ask some hard questions about how and why Hillary Clinton’s emails got such massively outsized attention.

Categories: Politics

Commentary: Indians are looking good -- and at just the right time

Medina Gazette - 6 hours 16 min ago

These are the dog days, so the Indians’ timing is perfect.

Categories: Misc

Commentary: Indians are looking good -- and at just the right time

Medina Gazette - 6 hours 16 min ago

These are the dog days, so the Indians’ timing is perfect.

Categories: Misc

Commentary: Indians are looking good -- and at just the right time

Medina Gazette - 6 hours 16 min ago

These are the dog days, so the Indians’ timing is perfect.

Categories: Misc

Commentary: Indians are looking good -- and at just the right time

Medina Gazette - 6 hours 16 min ago

These are the dog days, so the Indians’ timing is perfect.

Categories: Misc

Afghanistan Address Spoilers

Balloon Juice - 6 hours 18 min ago

Even if you don’t use Twitter, you’ve probably heard about the amazing predictive powers of Trump’s Twitter archive. For every stupid action Trump takes as president (and there are no other kind), there is an equal and opposite reaction tweet from the Trump Twitter archive. The many Trump tweets criticizing President Obama for golfing or vacationing are just the most obvious examples.

Tonight, Trump will announce a “new” strategy in Afghanistan. If the Nostradumbass principle holds true, Trump will follow the well-worn path of pouring yet more billions into the pockets of kleptocrats, war lords and contractors. Dan Eggen (@daneggenwpost) at the Washington Post pulled up some tweets from the archive:

Dickish backseat driving aside, these tweets express a fundamental break with both the Bush 2 and Obama administrations’ approach to Afghanistan. And while it’s likely that only a handful of certified idiots would have voted for Trump specifically to change those policies, he’s about to expose them for the suckers they are: Tonight, Trump will find a way to walk that shit back while making it all about himself.

Expect much praise for the sagacity of the generals and much more for the wisdom of Trump himself in tonight’s address, with emphasis on how past presidents were total losers but Trump will win because he’s a winner. It will, as usual, be a tapestry of lies. The only winners will be the kleptocrats, war lords and mercenaries, who have been winning all along.

Categories: Politics

10 things to know, Monday, Aug. 21

Medina Gazette - 6 hours 19 min ago
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
Categories: Misc