Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
We have another White Male Terrorist mass shooting. This dude is a real MAGA darling. Naturally, the sounds of Crickets are coming from the White House. “Waffle House suspect Travis Reinking deemed himself a ‘sovereign citizen,’ part of anti-government group.” Of course, he’s anti-government just like Ronnie Raygun who declared our “government was the problem” in 1981 during his inaugural address and then proceded to turn it into a problem. That statement was almost as uplifting as the dank shit we got last time out with KKKremlin Caligula, the hair fury. Gun violence in this country is the choice of a lot of white men buying politicians via the NRA. That’s the problem.
The suspected gunman on the run after riddling a Tennessee Waffle House with bullets dubbed himself a “sovereign citizen,” before being arrested in July 2017 outside the White House.
Travis Reinking, 29, used that term — which the FBI has also used to describe a group of anti-government extremists — during a clash last year with the Secret Service, according to a police report obtained by USA TODAY.
Reinking told agents he needed to see President Trump and defined himself as sovereign citizen who had a right to inspect the grounds, according to an arrest report by the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. He was arrested on an unlawful entry charge after refusing to leave the area.
The FBI has said sovereign citizens “believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or ‘sovereign’ from the United States.”
The agency has also defined sovereign citizens as “anti-government extremists who claim the federal government is operating outside its jurisdiction and they are therefore not bound by government authority—including the courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, and even law enforcement.”
This guy has a politically extreme view that motivates him. He’s another Timothy McVeigh sort. So, when do we hear the WHITE CHRISTIAN MALE TERRORIST label?
It’s unknown if Reinking’s 2017 sovereign citizen self-designation was in line with the FBI’s definition or if it played any role in the Antioch, TN Waffle House attack, which left four dead.
A motive has not been released and investigators are continuing to probe Reinking’s background, which includes several past incidents with law enforcement.
Well, obviously NOT today Satan. Law enforcement took away the dude’s guns once and GAVE them to his father! Raise your hand if you think any person of color would’ve had that freaking experience. I can see we have no takers.
On Aug. 24, 2017, sheriffs deputies in Tazewell County, Illinois took a state-issued card from Reinking that Illinois requires for someone to own a weapon. During a Sunday news conference streamed online, Tazewell County Sheriff Robert M. Huston said Reinking volunteered to give up his four weapons.
However, Reinking’s father was present when those deputies came to confiscate the guns, Huston said. The father had a valid state authorization card and asked the police if he could keep the weapons. Deputies gave Reinking’s father the weapons, Huston said.
“He was allowed to do that after he assured deputies he would keep them secure and away from Travis,” Huston said, referring to Reinking’s father.
Huston and Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said they believe Reinking’s father returned the weapons to Reinking.
DudeBro gunned down four people in the Waffle House located in Nashville. He was all of 29. Did we mention he was nearly buck naked and the police can’t find his lily white ass?
Murder warrants were issued for the suspect, identified as a 29-year-old White male named Travis Reinking. He’s accused of killing four people and wounding four others 3:25 a.m. Sunday at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville. Reinking, who was naked, fled on foot, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department tweeted.
The motive behind the shooting is unknown, authorities said, according to CNN. It appears to be a random mass shooting. Investigators, however, are typically slow to declare mass shootings by White males a domestic terror attack, even though White men constitute the largest group of domestic terrorists in the nation.
Oh, wait! Some one did recognize this for what it is!!! Could it be: “The Epidemic Of White Male Terrorism And Its Connection To White Privilege . “Race shapes our reaction to gun violence,” professor and author David J. Leonard writes.” Will we get the usual Dudebro just suddenly became unhinged, crazy, and violent?
Such narratives are unique to white male mass shooters. As are the efforts to humanize and to offer cultural autopsies that point to potential gambling addictions or mental illness as the reason behind a mass shooting rather than a pervasive evil inherent in white male killers.
The erasure of “white male” mass shooters from public discourse produces coverage that depicts Paddock and countless others as individuals who we must empathize with. Paddock deserves empathy because he is not the imagined Muslim terrorist, the criminal Latino immigrant, and the Black thug. Whereas they are terrorists and super predators who “terrorize communities,” who undermine the safety and tranquility of our communities,
Oh, wait… here’s another! “We should be able to eat waffles in peace — but Trump and the NRA accept this kind of terrorism”.
I shouldn’t have to carry a gun to feel safe getting waffles.
I shouldn’t have to hope I’m seated near a mythological “good guy with a gun” to feel safe getting waffles.
We should be able to eat our waffles in peace. We should be able to send our kids to school without worrying that they’ll be gunned down. We should be able to go to church and not wonder whether an AR-15-toting person who fell through the mental-health-services cracks might stand up and open fire.
But we don’t feel that way. We can’t. This nation’s gun obsession has made it impossible, and those who stand in the way of any action that might limit access to guns — even to domestic abusers or the mentally ill — are insisting that their outlandish “right” to own any firearm they want supersedes our perfectly reasonable right to eat our waffles without toting a sidearm.
There’s a word for all this: terrorism. People don’t like to use that word when it comes to guns and Americans. But what are we really dealing with here if not terror? What do you call it when people are made to feel unsafe in the most public of places?
Four young people were gunned down early Sunday morning at that Waffle House near Nashville. A 29-year-old man from Morton, Ill., is the suspected shooter, and police say he used an AR-15-style assault rifle, the same type of firearm used in the Parkland school shooting (17 dead), the Texas church shooting (26 dead), the Las Vegas music festival shooting (58 dead) and the Orlando nightclub shooting (49 dead).
Government can do something about it. We’ve got these problems because NRA lobbyists fund the bad guys. The police gave an AR 15 this guy had no right to have back to HIS FATHER who just gave it back to his son.
Police said the father of suspected Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking handed his son back an AR-15 found at the scene, after it had been seized by authorities in relation to another incident.
But, yes, already there’s the usual narrative. Poor white kid deserves our help. “Waffle House shooting suspect said Taylor Swift stalked him, had history of delusions, police say”
In 2017, the year before Reinking became the subject of an intensive police manhunt after a deadly shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House, officials said he went to a local pool wearing a pink dress and swam in his underwear while coaxing life guards to fight him. Soon after, he traveled to D.C., and tried to cross a security barrier near the White House, declaring himself a “sovereign citizen” who wanted to speak with President Trump.
Police reports dating to May 2016 offer a glimpse of what officials described as Reinking’s “mental problems.”
This is just no way to run a country. No other civilized country lets military weapons out to just any one. The data shows we don’t need to live this way. If our government is the problem then we need to vote the gun fetishists out.
Today’s art are a selection of various PWAP commissioned murals in California. You may remember that the WPA was a Great Depression era economic policy to put Americans back to work. It hired all kinds of artisans as well as workers to build, decorate, and document the experience of recovery from the US’s worst recession ever. PWAP was the arm that commissioned Public Works of Art. This are 27 murals located in Coit Tower- San Francisco. The Lillie Hitchcock Coit Memorial Tower was actually part of a gift from the Coit estate that granted the city money for beautification purposes in 1931. The murals were commissioned in 1933 and executed in 1934. Many of the murals were not available for public viewing until 2014. There was a restoration project as well as an effort to allow public access.
Because all 27 Coit Tower murals were painted at the same time, in 1934, they presumably were meant to be seen as a whole. Now that all the murals have undergone the most intensive restoration in their history, an effort is being made to get people up there, but only in groups of four to eight, and only as part of a docent tour.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Earlier this week my mother yelled to me while I was peeing on the toilet…she wanted to know if there was enough hot water in the tea kettle for her morning coffee as well as mine.
It is a ritual, every morning I fill the copper whistling kettle, pouring water for both of our cups of shitty coffees. That is what we call it, shitty coffee. A step up from instant coffee, which is real shitty coffee, we use those Folgers singles.
That morning the kettle started to whistle and she shut off the gas burner and hollered to me about if I’d put water to make both of our shitty coffees. I was annoyed, not that she was talking to me while I’m on the toilet, or that she was yelling across the house…it was that she had the audacity to think I would not put water in the kettle for her. So I hollered back to my mother, exasperated…”Yes, there is enough water. I always put enough water for you in there…”
And then it hit me, one day I won’t have to put enough water in the kettle for her. She won’t be yelling at me while I’m on the toilet…she won’t be here.
I lost it. It was a good thing I was alone in my bathroom. I could cry and no one would know.
Here are the links for today…in dump fashion. It is the Girl’s bridal shower…and I still haven’t wrapped up the gifts.
Happy Earth Day, I hope you can see these Instagram post…
In case you missed this news from last week:
View this post on Instagram
#DYK that nearly every 2 seconds a girl is forced into early marriage? Not only does this deny them of their childhood, it limits their access to education and increases their chance of getting pregnant. We’re working to change the story, but we need your help. Together we can #EndChildMarriage once and for all. Will you stand with us? Tag a friend to spread the word! . . #GirlsRights #ChildrensRights #EqualRights #WomensRights #GenderEquality #Charity #ForAGoodCause #MakeADifference #DoSomething #BeTheChange #ChangeIsPossible #BecauseIAmAGirl #GirlsEducation #YouthLeaders #YouthLeadership #PlanCanada #EmpoweringWomen #EmpoweringGirls #GiveBack #MeToo #Cause #Philanthropy #MakeAChange #MeTooMovement #WomensMarch #Canadians
With Comey on every TV Show lately…this has been my favorite answer to the Television Screen!
Former FBI Director James Comey gave two interviews on Thursday and was asked the same question, but gave two very different responses.
When I found out about this Barron dude…alter ego/Trump using a deeper New York accent…I could not believe it:
It is a basic reality of life that timing is nearly everything. There may be no better example of that than the amazing story the Washington Post ran yesterday, which, if it had been known at the start of the 2016 campaign, would have ended any chance of Donald Trump being the Republican presidential nominee.
In this story, which has not gotten nearly the play in the rest of the media that it deserves, we learned that there is audio proof that Trump blatantly lied to get on the prestigious “Fortune 400” list of richest people. But it isn’t just that he lied, he did so by using a fake persona, “John Barron,” which further verifies the allegation that he had used this pitiful gambit to manipulate the tabloid media early in his evolution of becoming a celebrity.
There are many ways that this report, which is both incredibly shocking and yet sadly not really that surprising, should, in a rational world, have massive impact. Yes, the story originates from way back in the early 1980s, but this is essentially the equivalent of Trump’s origin or birth story.
Have y’all listened to the tapes. Bwahahaha!
More tRump shit:
And from the tRump base:
You can take a look at those.
This is interesting though:
When I mentioned stoned kangaroo, I did not mean in a Hippie sense of the word….
A kangaroo was killed by Chinese zoo visitors who pelted the marsupial with stones because it wouldn’t hop.
The kangaroo — a 12 year old female — died in a zoo in the southeastern city of Fuzhou last month, after an apparent attack by humans.
Zookeepers found the kangaroo with a smashed foot and other injuries after at least one visitor struck it with stones to try to make it jump, The New York Times reported, citing local news outlets.
“Some of us saw visitors throwing stones, and an attendant went out to stop it, but the visitors denied doing it,” a veterinarian told The Paper, according to the Times.
The kangaroo’s foot was treated, but it died days later from extensive internal bleeding, believed to have been caused by injuries from the stones.
In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani admires a teenager’s tenacity in tackling the harassment of pupils on the school commute.
Allegations of physical or sexual abuse against teachers in Nigerian schools sometimes manage to grab a headline, but then fade without any follow-up story on how the case was resolved.
In 2016, girls at a prestigious boarding school in Lagos abandoned their exams in protest at pervasive sexual harassment by a male teacher.
Those of us who endured similar unchecked bad behaviour during our school days cheered them on.
I know from personal experience of studying in Nigeria, how powerless students can sometimes feel when faced with abusers who act with impunity, knowing that the cultures of silence and respect for elders are on their side.
So, I was impressed when I recently came across a Tanzanian teenager, who told me how she was creating an opportunity for students in her country to report harassment.
Please read the whole article…
Controversial order to remain in effect for six months from president’s approval, or until parliament votes it into law.
India’s cabinet has approved the death penalty for rapists of girls below the age of 12, after Narendra Modi, the prime minister, held an emergency meeting in response to nationwide outrage in the wake of a series of cases.
Saturday’s controversial executive order, or ordinance, amends the criminal law to also include more drastic punishment for convicted rapists of girls under the age of 16, government officials said.
India launched fast-track courts and a tougher rape law that included the death penalty after an assault on a young woman shocked the country in 2012, but India’s rape epidemic has shown no sign of dying down.
More at the link.
A heavily militarized police force of some 400 officers aggressively patrolled a small neo-Nazi rally in this city 40 miles southwest of Atlanta on Saturday and arrested about 10 counterprotesters, many for the crime of wearing a mask.
Police officers arrived before the rally began and approached a group of about 50 anti-fascist protesters. They demanded the protesters remove their masks or face arrest. The officers — who wore bulletproof vests and helmets, and carried semi-automatic rifles — cornered the anti-fascist protesters, then grabbed those who were still masked, tossing them to the ground and handcuffing them.
At one point, an officer pointed what seemed to be a modified AR-15 at the faces of counterprotesters, none of whom appeared to be armed.
The lead officer in the arrests said the counterprotesters were breaking a state law regarding masks, likely referring to a seldom-enforced 1951 law originally aimed at combating hooded Ku Klux Klan members. Anti-fascist protesters ― many belonging to chapters of antifa groups, known for sometimes violently confronting white supremacists ― often wear masks to avoid being identified by both law enforcement and neo-Nazis.
That is fucking shit…
What about arresting the hate crime assholes who were the reason for the counterprotest?
Sad news today about Austin Powers movies’ Mini-Me, Verne Troyer, dies
“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” his family posted on his Instagram account.
The cause of death was not announced, but the family wrote that “depression and suicide are very serious issues.”
“You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. But be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help,” they said.
Film fans have long discussed the representation of sexuality and gender on screen.
However a meme focusing on how light is increasingly used to portray bisexuals has gained traction on social media.
Many LGBT people have been sharing examples of TV programmes, films and music videos to highlight the development of so-called “bisexual lighting” – characterised by the simultaneous use of neon pink and blue light on screen
The under-representation of bisexuality on screen has been debated for a number of years, and some have seized on bisexual lighting as an empowering visual device.
Reflecting this, the Pantone Color Institute named Ultra Violet as its colour of the year for 2018, referencing the influence of “Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix”.
But is it really a tool to represent bisexuality, or are people reading too much into neon-tinged stylisation?
What is ‘bisexual lighting’?
An early use of the term comes from a 2014 post on the blogging site Trumblr,which discusses a pink-and-blue-washed scene in the BBC’s Sherlock and speculates about the hidden desires of Dr John Watson.
A more recent, and commonly discussed, example of bisexual lighting can be seen in the San Junipero episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror.
The Emmy Award-winning episode follows the development of a relationship between two bisexual female characters.
Go to the link to read more on this lighting sequence…with more examples.
This is all for you today, open thread….
My mom is visiting from Indiana this weekend–staying with my brother. She will be 93 in June. She’s coming over to visit my apartment pretty soon, so I have to rush around and get ready. It has been so wonderful to see her for the first time since she moved into assisted living more than a year ago. She was moving at about the same time I moved into this apartment.
Last night we watched a wonderful HBO documentary, If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast. It’s about people in their 90s who are still active and vital. Some of the people featured: Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Betty White, Norman Lear, and Dick Van Dyke. Here’s a piece about it at The Atlantic from about a year ago: A Sunny, Funny View of Old Age.
Carl Reiner, the 95-year-old comedian, writer, actor, and director, has a running gag about life as a nonagenarian. “Every morning … I pick up my newspaper, get the obituary section, and see if I’m listed,” he explains. “If I’m not, I have my breakfast.” He stages a version of this routine for the new documentary If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast, airing Monday night on HBO, in which Reiner and a handful of other 90-something personalities mull old age, and the possible reasons for their longevity. “Is it luck? Genes? Modern medicine?” he wonders. “Or are we doing something right?”
The result, directed by Danny Gold, is a documentary that’s loose, unfocused, and utterly charming—much like its subjects. Reiner wants to challenge perceptions about what it means to be living in your 90s (really living, rather than simply alive), and so he chats with friends who, like him, are thriving late in life. Tony Bennett, still swinging at 90, is filmed singing over the opening credits. The filmmaker Mel Brooks (90) and the TV producer Norman Lear (94) converse with Reiner about the impulse to keep working, as do the actress Betty White (95) and the actor Dick Van Dyke (91). The freewheeling, genial nature of the proceedings means the movie often feels like a Hollywood reunion, which perhaps explains why Jerry Seinfeld (a relative baby at 63) also pops up occasionally to ponder the potential of old age….
Perhaps aware of the fact that entertainers are a special breed, Gold also interviews a number of regular Americans who continue to blossom well past their 90s, and who assert the film’s general thesis that physical activity is paramount. These include Tao Porchon-Lynch, a 98-year-old yoga teacher, and Ida Keeling, a 102-year-old runner whose story is so inspiring it demands its own feature-length version. Keeling started running at the age of 67 after both her sons had been murdered. “I felt so different … like I had come out of my shell,” she explains. “Now, I’m chasing myself. There’s nobody to compete with.”
It’s in moments like these that Gold (and Reiner, who acts as a kind of emcee) really challenge perceptions about what growing old has to mean. Their subjects seem to view every day as an opportunity, rather than as another notch on an increasingly long calendar. “People are so worried about getting old,” the 95-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel explains. “I never think about [it]. I think people should just take advantage of being alive.” Reiner, shown signing books for fans, posing for photographs, and doing stand-up shows, maintains that he’s busier and more productive than ever. Though, as he jokes to Betty White, not all aspects of aging can be helped: “You don’t lose interest in sex, but you lose your power.”
Anyway, I found it inspiring. One of the things that all the interviewees talked about was how important it is to do something you love and be busy every day. I’ve often thought that writing for this blog has been important for me psychologically. It gives me something to focus on and a way to share my thoughts–and sometimes people even pay attention! It gives me the motivation to get up every morning and see what’s happening in politics and other news, and politics is something I have loved ever since I was 11 years old. I don’t know what I’d do without my on-line connections and my constant curiosity about what’s going on in the world.
So here’s what’s happening today.
Did Mike Pompeo deliberately allow people to think he served in combat in the Gulf War? The Splinter: The CIA Says Mike Pompeo Didn’t Fight in the Gulf War.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo is set to become the next Secretary of State. It’s an ideal time, then, to clarify details of his biography, including a rather major one: did Pompeo, as numerous profiles have stated, fight in the Gulf War? We asked the CIA, who confirmed that he absolutely did not.
Pompeo is a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1986 to 1991. But he wasn’t deployed to the Gulf: In an email this morning, a spokesperson for the CIA told us, “Director Pompeo was in the U.S. Army at the time of the Gulf War – serving until 1991. He was not deployed to that theater.”
The question was first raised on Twitter Friday morning by Ned Price, a former CIA officer who served under President Obama, and who very publicly quit the CIA rather than work for President Trump, announcing the decision in a February 2017 op-ed in the Washington Post. Price pointed out that among other places, Pompeo’s Wikipedia page suggests that he was deployed. It currently states that Pompeo “served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the 4th Infantry Division in the Gulf War.”
Pompeo’s nomination to Secretary of State may be in trouble. ABC News: Coons announces opposition to Pompeo, cuts off path to favorable committee vote.
Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, announced Friday that he will not vote to support the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state, officially closing the door on Pompeo’s chances of being favorably recommended out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ahead of a full Senate floor vote.
Coons, the last Democrat on the panel to announce his position, said in a statement that he was encouraged by Pompeo’s commitment to the diplomatic corps that he laid out in his confirmation hearing but concluded that the current CIA director and former congressman would embolden rather than temper President Donald Trump‘s most bellicose instincts.
“I do not make this decision lightly or without reservations,” Coons said in a statement. “I remain concerned that Director Pompeo will not challenge the President in critical moments. On vital decisions facing our country, Director Pompeo seems less concerned with rule of law and partnership with our allies and more inclined to emphasize unilateral action and the use of force.”
This surprising story broke last night at The Washington Post: Sessions told White House that Rosenstein’s firing could prompt his departure, too.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked after the deputy attorney general approved the FBI’s raid April 9 on the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Sessions’s message to the White House, which has not previously been reported, underscores the political firestorm that Trump would invite should he attempt to remove the deputy attorney general. While Trump also has railed against Sessions at times, the protest resignation of an attorney general — which would be likely to incite other departures within the administration — would create a moment of profound crisis for the White House.
In the phone call with McGahn, Sessions wanted details of a meeting Trump and Rosenstein held at the White House on April 12, according to a person with knowledge of the call. Sessions expressed relief to learn that their meeting was largely cordial. Sessions said he would have had to consider leaving as the attorney general had Trump ousted Rosenstein, this person said.
The Intercept has a new story about Elliott Broidy, the guy that paid hush money to a Playboy model whom he impregnated with the assistance of Trump attorney Michael Cohen: Trump Fundraiser Offered Russian Gas Company Plan to Get Sanctions Lifted for $26 Million.
SHORTLY AFTER PRESIDENT Donald Trump was inaugurated last year, top Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy offered Russian gas giant Novatek a $26 million lobbying plan aimed at removing the company from a U.S. sanctions list, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Broidy is a Trump associate who was deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee until he resigned last week amid reports that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model with whom he had an affair. But in February 2017, when he laid out his lobbying proposal for Novatek, he was acting as a well-connected businessman and longtime Republican donor in a bid to help the Russian company avoid sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. The 2014 sanctions were aimed at punishing Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In February 2017, Broidy sent a draft of the plan by email to attorney Andrei Baev, then a Moscow- and London-based lawyer who represented major Russian energy companies for the firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP. Baev had already been communicating with Novatek about finding a way to lift U.S. sanctions.
Broidy proposed arranging meetings with key White House and congressional leaders and generating op-eds and other articles favorable to the Russian company, along with a full suite of lobbying activities to be undertaken by consultants brought on board….
The plan is outlined in a series of emails and other documents obtained by The Intercept. Broidy and Baev did not dispute the authenticity of the exchanges but said the deal was never consummated.
The Daily Beast reports on Michael Avenatti’s appearance on Bill Maher’s show: Stormy Daniels’ Lawyer Tells Bill Maher That Sean Hannity Is Screwed. About Hannity, Avenatti said:
“Here’s what I think: I think that when the documents actually come out, and there are documents—there’s no question in my mind, there are documents wBaith Sean Hannity’s name on them—the extent of that relationship, I think, will be very embarrassing to Sean Hannity,” he said.
Back home in Indiana, Mike Pence suffered a setback in his endless war on women. The Indy Star: Indiana abortion law signed by former Gov. Mike Pence is ruled unconstitutional.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court ruling striking down a Pence-era abortion law.
House Enrolled Act 1337 was signed by former Gov. Mike Pence in March 2016. Among other “non-discrimination provisions,” the law prohibited abortions sought because a fetus had been potentially diagnosed with a disability.
In an opinion filed Thursday, 7th Circuit Judge William J. Bauer called those provisions unconstitutional.
“The non-discrimination provisions clearly violate well-established Supreme Court precedent holding that a woman may terminate her pregnancy prior to viability, and that the State may not prohibit a woman from exercising that right for any reason,” he wrote for the three-judge panel that ruled on the case.
Jane Henegar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said in a written statement that Thursday’s decision “affirmed a woman’s fundamental right to make her own personal medical decisions.”
So . . . what stories have you been following?
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
How many of us are really surprised by the content of the Comey Memos? Any one? Surprised the Republicans would release detailed accounts of Trump’s most bizarre moments? Yeah. That last one is a bit confusing. So, we now have more on hookers and jailing journalists and blatant lies, and just about every other lurid example of the multiple personality disorders that comprise the raw id of the Kremlin’s potted plant in the US oval office.
Let’s just get straight to the dishonesty, obsession, and ickiness of the Madness of KKKremlin Caligula. This first read isn’t from Comey but if you want to read up on one of Trump’s lying self-promoting alter egos then read this in WAPO by Jonathan Greenburg: ‘Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes.’ Yes, here there be tapes.
In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was.
The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself. When I recently rediscovered and listened, for first time since that year, to the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse: Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him. “Barron” told me that Trump had taken possession of the business he ran with his father, Fred. “Most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump,” he said. “You have down Fred Trump [as half owner] . . . but I think you can really use Donald Trump now.” Trump, through this sockpuppet, was telling me he owned “in excess of 90 percent” of his family’s business. With all the home runs Trump was hitting in real estate, Barron told me, he should be called a billionaire.
At the time, I suspected that some of this was untrue. I ran Trump’s assertions to the ground, and for many years I was proud of the fact that Forbes had called him on his distortions and based his net worth on what I thought was solid research.
But it took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had built to project an image as one of the richest people in America. Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn’t just poorer than he said he was. Over time I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later.
It’s just hard to grok that level of need for recognition. But, Comey’s memos outline the same behavior about 40 years later. From CNN and Stephen Collinson: ‘Comey memos renew questions over Trump’s behavior.’
The Comey memos suggest Trump has a scattershot and self-obsessed mindset, brooding about his subordinates, leaks, his campaign and his inaugural crowd size and not appreciating or caring about protocol boundaries that separate the White House and the Justice Department.
Furthermore, the conversations with Comey soon after Trump moved into the White House paint a picture of a new President more concerned with own fortunes than the burden of his new responsibilities.
CNN obtained the documents, which offer a staggering insider account, after they were sent to Congress by the Justice Department on Thursday in response to requests from three GOP House committee chairmen on Capitol Hill.
Trump responded to the release of the memos on Twitter in an apparent attempt to direct conversation away from the embarrassing substance of the documents.
“So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written). Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
Hours earlier, he insisted the memos “show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?”
The 15 pages of documents contain new details about a series of interactions with Trump that Comey found so unnerving that he chose to document them in writing. Those seven encounters in the weeks and months before Comey’s May 2017 firing include a Trump Tower discussion about allegations involving Trump and prostitutes in Moscow; a White House dinner at which Comey says Trump asked him for his loyalty; and a private Oval Office discussion where the ex-FBI head says the president asked him to end an investigation into Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser.
The documents had been eagerly anticipated since their existence was first revealed last year, especially since Comey’s interactions with Trump are a critical part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice. Late Thursday night, Trump tweeted that the memos “show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.”
The memos cover the first three months of the Trump administration, a period of upheaval marked by staff turnover, a cascade of damaging headlines and revelations of an FBI investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The documents reflect Trump’s uneasiness about that investigation, though not always in ways that Comey seemed to anticipate.
In a February 2017 conversation, for instance, Trump told Comey how Putin told him, “we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world” even as the president adamantly, and repeatedly, distanced himself from a salacious allegation concerning him and prostitutes in Moscow, according to one memo. Comey says Trump did not say when Putin had made the comment.
In another memo, Comey recounts how Trump at a private White House dinner pointed his fingers at his head and complained that Flynn, his embattled national security adviser, “has serious judgment issues.” The president blamed Flynn for failing to alert him promptly to a congratulatory call from a world leader, causing a delay for Trump in returning a message.
The foreign leader’s name is redacted in the documents, but two people familiar with the call tell the AP it was Putin. They were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Josh Marshall of TPM writes that the memos show clear indications of Trump’s lying about his trip to Moscow. He’s traced and documented the inconsistencies between words and actions.
There’s ample evidence that Trump stayed not one but two nights. In July 2017, Bloomberg News’s Vernon Silver and Evgenia Pismennaya reported out a detailed reconstruction of the trip based on FAA records, social media postings and interviews. They showed clearly that Trump flew from North Carolina to New York on the evening of November 7th (Thursday) and then proceeded on to Moscow overnight and arrived sometime early on November 8th (Friday). He overnighted in Moscow. He was in Moscow all of November 9th (Saturday), the day of the pageant, and departed for New York early November 10th. For the details of how we know these facts, see the Bloomberg article. It is forensic in its detail.
Clearly, Trump lied about not spending the night in Russia. It’s conceivable that he forgot he’d spent the night. But again, the whole idea is wildly implausible. He said he’d discussed the details of the trip with others. Surely they would have reminded him. And he stayed not one but two nights. Clearly, Trump was lying about this. He lied about it repeatedly to Comey. And Priebus’s presence during one of the encounters strongly suggests he’d told this same lie to his senior staff.
In other Trump Crazy news there’s this: ‘Trump sex scandals turn a harsh spotlight on this Beverly Hills lawyer’via the LA Times.
Most Beverly Hills lawyers are seldom accused of extortion.
For Keith M. Davidson, however, it’s not so rare: He is fighting three civil suits by television personalities alleging extortion.
Davidson is the attorney who negotiated payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential race to keep them quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump.
Both wound up firing Davidson and hiring new lawyers to get their nondisclosure deals voided.
Via the NY Times we hear about a recently filed lawsuit: ‘Democratic Party Alleges Trump-Russia Conspiracy in New Lawsuit’. Yes, it is just breaking!
The Democratic National Committee opened a new legal assault on President Trump on Friday by filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the organization was the victim of a conspiracy by Russian officials, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.
The 66-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, assembles the publicly known facts of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling to accuse Mr. Trump’s associates of illegally working with Russian intelligence agents to interfere with the outcome of the election.
“The conspiracy constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery: the campaign of the presidential nominee of a major party in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” the D.N.C. wrote in its lawsuit, which was first reported by The Washington Post.
And from that WAPO link:
The lawsuit argues that Russia is not entitled to sovereign immunity in this case because “the DNC claims arise out of Russia’s trespass on to the DNC’s private servers . . . in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”
The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC filed suit against then-President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.
The suit was denounced at the time by Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, who called it a case of “sheer demagoguery” by the DNC. But the civil action brought by the DNC’s then-chairman, Lawrence F. O’Brien, was ultimately successful, yielding a $750,000 settlement from the Nixon campaign that was reached on the day in 1974 that Nixon left office.
The suit filed Friday seeks millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks. The DNC argues that the cyberattack undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats.
Rachel Maddow interviewed Comey last night on her show. You may watch here.
The Cook Report lists risk factors for Republicans in the upcoming elections. Toss ’em out!
Multiple indicators, including generic ballot polls , President Trump’s approval ratings and recent special election results, point to midterm danger for Republicans. But without robust race-by-race polling, it’s trickier to predict individual races six months out. Are Democrats the favorites to pick up the 23 seats they need for a majority? Yes, but it’s still not certain which races will materialize for Democrats and which won’t.
Our latest ratings point to 56 vulnerable GOP-held seats, versus six vulnerable Democratic seats. Of the 56 GOP seats at risk, 15 are open seats created by retirements. Even if Democrats were to pick up two-thirds of those seats, they would still need to hold all their own seats and defeat 13 Republican incumbents to reach the magic number of 218. Today, there are 18 GOP incumbents in our Toss Up column.
That Toss Up list is likely to grow as the cycle progresses. Out of the 65 GOP incumbents rated as less than “Solid,” 49 were first elected in 2010 or after, meaning more than three quarters have never had to face this kind of political climate before. And, Democrats have a donor enthusiasm edge: in the first quarter of 2018, at least 43 sitting Republicans were out-raised by at least one Democratic opponent.
Well, that’s it for me today.
What’s on your reading and blogging list?
As usual, there’s a massive amount of news this morning. To provide a bit of distraction, I’m illustrating this post with one of my favorite things in Boston: Back Bay doors.
There are stories about various Trump advisers who are involved in scandal or at odds with the “president.” Yesterday voter suppression advocate Kris Kobach was found in contempt of court by a federal judge. It looks like EPA chief Scott Pruitt may soon be buried by his multiple scandals. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has angered Senators with his refusal to brief them on his contacts with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Will that affect the committee vote on his appointment as Secretary of State? Nikki Haley is standing up to Trump, but can he fire here when there are rumors she could run against him in 2020? Finally, Ronan Farrow has a piece about Rex Tillerson’s “last days and chaotic tenure as Secretary of State.”
And in the wake of the raid on Trump attorney Michael Cohen, various lawsuits are being dropped. Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougall was freed yesterday from her contract with The National Enquirer and can now talk publicly about her relationship with Trump. In addition, Michael Cohen has dropped his libel suits against Fusion GPS and Buzzfeed. Will Trump and Cohen give up their fights with Stormy Daniels soon as well? They have to be living in fear that discovery in these civil cases could reveal embarrassing information related to the FBI searches of Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room.
The biggest story of course is Michael Cohen, his likely criminal indictment, and the danger he poses for Trump.
You probably heard about that Wall Street Journal story (behind paywall) about a former Trump lawyer, Jay Goldberg, warning him about Cohen. Not behind paywalls:
Gloria Borger at CNN: Former Trump lawyer says he warned the President that Cohen could turn against him.
Jay Goldberg, a longtime lawyer for Donald Trump — who negotiated Trump’s divorces from Ivana Trump and Marla Maples decades ago — says he received a call from the President last Friday seeking advice and warned the President to be careful about his longtime friend Michael Cohen, who he predicted could end up cooperating with prosecutors.
‘Anybody who is facing 30 years never stands up,” Goldberg says he told the President. “Without exception, a person facing a prison term cooperates.”Goldberg also added that in addition to cooperation, the person “may also wear a wire.”Goldberg was adamant that anyone facing a long prison term “will testify because they need the government’s affection,” he said. “That way, the government can say they have testified in a truthful manner.”Goldberg said the President had no response.
Gloat over more details at CNN.
Politico: Trump allies worry Cohen will flip.
Two sources close to the president said people in Trump’s inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen — long seen as one of Trump’s most loyal personal allies — might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump.
“That’s what they’ll threaten him with: life imprisonment,” said Alan Dershowitz, the liberal lawyer and frequent Trump defender who met with the president and his staff over two days at the White House last week. “They’re going to threaten him with a long prison term and try to turn him into a canary that sings.” [….]
Since the raid, the president and his advisers have been singularly focused on the risk of a potential federal prosecution of Cohen, which they view as a much bigger existential threat to the presidency than former FBI Director James Comey, whose book “A Higher Loyalty” has dominated headlines and even Trump’s Twitter feed even before its Tuesday release.
Trump has regularly ranted to friends and advisers about the investigation into Cohen, according to two other people familiar with the conversations. He believes strongly that the FBI raid has pushed the boundaries of attorney-client privilege, telling friends that he and his associates are being unfairly targeted.
“He’s not happy about it,” said one White House official.
Well isn’t that just too bad.
In a conversation with Trump last Friday, Jay Goldberg, one of Trump’s lawyers, warned the president, “Michael will never stand up [for you]” if charged by the government, according to TheWall Street Journal. But why would Trump have anything to worry about, unless … Trump committed a crime that Cohen knows about?
In an interview with the Journal, Goldberg elucidated his concerns about Cohen’s loyalty and the devastating impact it would have if he cooperated with the government. “The mob was broken by Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano caving in out of the prospect of a jail sentence,” Goldberg explained.
Again, this makes a lot of sense as a legal defense strategy for a businessman who has probably done a lot of illegal stuff. But as a public-relations strategy, isn’t Trump’s lawyer supposed to say he believes Cohen is innocent, and would be shocked to learn if he did something wrong, because of course Trump has never engaged in any illegal behavior and would never tolerate it among his employees? He’s probably not supposed to casually liken the president of the United States to the boss of a criminal syndicate.
At this point, I think just about everyone knows that Trump’s business was a crime syndicate and he’s busy using our government to rake in more profits for his crime family.
Trump, Inc.: The Company Michael Cohen Kept.
If you’ve seen video or images of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, they’ve probably been set in locations that exude power and importance: Cohen berating a CNN anchor in a TV studio, for example, or striding across the sleek marbled interior of Trump Tower, or more recently, smoking cigars in front of Cohen’s temporary residence, the Loews Regency Hotel on Manhattan’s Park Avenue.
But to understand how Michael Cohen arrived in those precincts, you need to venture across New York City’s East River. There, in a Queens warehouse district in the shadows of an elevated No. 7 subway line, is a taxi garage that used to house his law practice. The office area in the front is painted a garish taxi-cab-yellow, with posters of hockey players on the wall and a framed photo of the late Hasidic rabbi, Menachem Schneerson. Cohen practiced law there and invested in the once-lucrative medallions that grant New York cabs the right to operate.
Or you could drive 45 minutes deep into Brooklyn, near where Gravesend turns into Brighton Beach. There, in a desolate stretch near a shuttered podiatrist’s office, you’d find a medical office. According to previously unexamined records, Cohen incorporated a business there in 2002 that was involved in large quantities of medical claims. Separately, he represented more than 100 plaintiffs who claimed they were injured in auto collisions.
At the same time, in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York prosecutors were investigating what Fortune magazine called possibly “the largest organized insurance-fraud ring in U.S. history.” That fraud resulted in hundreds of criminal prosecutions for staging car accidents to collect insurance payments. Cohen was not implicated in the fraud.
A distinctive pattern emerged early in Cohen’s career, according to an examination by WNYC and ProPublica for the Trump, Inc. podcast: Many of the people who crossed paths with Cohen when he worked in Queens and Brooklyn were disciplined, disbarred, accused or convicted of crimes.
It appears that Cohen was Trump’s liason to the Russian mafia and to sleazy deals involving Russian and Ukrainian mobsters. Read all about it at the link.
At Rolling Stone, Seth Hettena offers an excerpt from his upcoming book Trump / Russia, A Definitive History: A Brief History of Michael Cohen’s Criminal Ties.
Cohen joined the Trump Organization in 2006, and eventually became Trump’s personal lawyer, a role once occupied by Roy Cohn, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s heavy-lidded hatchet man during the Red Scare who advised Trump in the 1980s. Michael Cohen’s bare-knuckled tactics earned him the nickname of “Tom,” a reference to Tom Hagen, the consigliore to Mafia Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather. He grew up on Long Island, the son of a physician who survived the Holocaust in Poland, and like Tom Hagen spent a childhood around organized crime, specifically the Russian Mafiya. Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, was a wealthy Brooklyn doctor who owned the El Caribe Country Club, a Brooklyn catering hall and event space that was a well-known hangout for Russian gangsters. Cohen and his siblings all had ownership stakes in the club, which rented for years to the first Mafiya boss of Brighton Beach, Evsei Agron, along with his successors, Marat Balagula and Boris Nayfeld. (Cohen’s uncle said his nephew gave up his stake in the club after Trump’s election.)
I spoke to two former federal investigators who told me Cohen was introduced to Donald Trump by his father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ukraine who arrived in the U.S. in 1975. Shusterman was in the garment business and owned a fleet of taxicabs with his partners, Shalva Botier and Edward Zubok – all three men were convicted of a money-laundering related offense in 1993. “Fima may have been a (possibly silent) business partner with Trump, perhaps even used as a conduit for Russian investors in Trump properties and other ventures,” a former federal investigator told me. “Cohen, who married into the family, was given the job with the Trump Org as a favor to Shusterman.” (“Untrue,” Cohen told me. “Your source is creating fake news.”)
Shusterman, who owned at least four New York taxi companies, also set his son-in-law up in the yellow cab business. Cohen once ran 260 yellow cabs with his Ukrainian-born partner, the “taxi king” Simon V. Garber, until their partnership ended acrimoniously in 2012. Glenn Simpson, the private investigator who was independently hired to examine Trump’s Russia connections during the real estate mogul’s presidential run, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Cohen “had a lot of connections to the former Soviet Union, and that he seemed to have associations with organized crime figures in New York and Florida – Russian organized crime figures,” including Garber.
Read the rest at Rolling Stone.
If you don’t want to read long exposes, you can check out Josh Marshall’s coverage of Cohen at Talking Points Memo. Marshall has been researching Cohen for a long time too. Here’s his latest: More on the Michael Cohen Money Trail. Marshall provides links to his previous posts on Cohen.
So . . . what stories are you following today?
It is always in the dark lately, whether it is dealing with Russia or North Korea…or Puerto Rico..
Puerto Rico’s power grid collapsed again on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
The grid has been unstable since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September. In the town where the storm made landfall, just 35 percent of residents had power when Mother Jones reporter AJ Vicens visited last month.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz tweeted about the collapse on Wednesday morning, calling it a return to the day Maria first struck Puerto Rico.
Officials say it could take 24 to 36 hours to restore power to the island, home to more than three million American citizens.
And then there is this shit:
The defenestration of Ambassador Haley continues…
MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. The United States has notified Russia through its Embassy in Washington that it will not impose fresh sanctions against Russia for the time being, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry informed TASS on Wednesday.
“I can confirm that the US has notified the Russian embassy that there will be no new sanctions for some time,” he said.
The Washington Post’s Carole Leonnig confirmed this last night:
But it leaves an important question: who was informed first the Russian ambassador in DC or Ambassador Haley?
The US’s position on Russian sanctions has now been officially announced and confirmed by Russia through a Russian state news media outlet.
So once again we are in the dark…until Russia media, “sets us straight.”
As that interview with Carole Leonnig from Maddow stated, more information was coming forward. Here is Leonnig’s article:
All this going on meanwhile:
Donald Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo for secretary of state encountered significant headwinds on Wednesday, as the Senate foreign relations committee looked short of the votes to deliver him a positive recommendation.
A majority of Democrats on the Senate panel announced their opposition to Pompeo, who has served as Trump’s CIA director and was chosen by the president last month to replace Rex Tillerson at the helm of the state department. Concerns over Pompeo’s nomination were amplified among some Democrats after it was revealed late Tuesday that he secretly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang earlier this month.
Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the committee, criticized the CIA director for failing to disclose the North Korea meeting even as they discussed the topic privately.
“I don’t expect diplomacy to be negotiated out in the open, but I do expect for someone who is the nominee to be secretary of state, when he speaks with committee leadership and is asked specific questions about North Korea, to share some insights about such a visit,” Menendez said on Wednesday.
The uncertainty over Pompeo’s fate with the committee could force Republicans to take the unusual step of sending his nomination to the Senate floor without a favorable recommendation.
Last night the White House issued a statement about Barbara Bush, of course they fucked it up.
You can go to the link to read the funny tweets.
One last link before the funnies, I have just a couple of weeks until my daughter gets married…so here is some new wedding dresses for 2019 from…hope you enjoy them: Spring 2019 Bridal Collections Archives | Tom + Lorenzo
So far that is the only Barbara Bush cartoon I could find…except one that I really didn’t like.
Not that that one is spectacular.
Anyway, would you believe I started to write this post at 12:30?
This is an open thread. A distracted open thread.
Good Morning Sky Dancers!!
This will be a short post, because I got hit with a severe migraine this morning for the first time in ages. I’m feeling too woozy to write much, so here are some links to check out:
Great long read at The New Yorker: A Voyage Along Trump’s Wall. Canoeing the Rio Grande reveals how life and a landscape would be changed along the border.
The Washington Post: Pruitt upgraded to a larger, customized SUV with bullet-resistant seat covers,
Not just in Philly. USA Today: Black man videotapes Starbucks’ refusal to let him use restroom.
The Washington Post: Why President Trump can’t get the best people.
So sorry for the brief post. I will check back later on if I’m feeling better.