Friday Reads: When Black Friday Comes …

It’s Friday! And Mueller is Coming! He’s an even better holiday guest than Santa!

Today’s news in traitors includes crazy conspiratorial nut Jerome Corsi. Yes! Another domino falls and brings us closer to the Cretin holding the White House hostage. From WAPO and really hot off the presses: “Stone associate Jerome Corsi is in plea negotiations with special counsel, according to a person with knowledge of the talks”. Stone and Dumb Junior cannot be too far behind. Too borrow a turn of phrase, “I love it!”.

Conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi is in plea negotiations with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to a person with knowledge of the talks.

The talks with Corsi — an associate of both President Trump and GOP operative Roger Stone — could bring Mueller’s team closer to determining whether Trump or his advisers were linked to WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic emails in 2016, a key part of his long-running inquiry.

Corsi provided research on Democratic figures during the campaign to Stone, a longtime Trump adviser. For months, the special counsel has been scrutinizing Stone’s activities in an effort to determine whether he coordinated with WikiLeaks. Stone and WikiLeaks have repeatedly denied any such coordination.

Stone has said that Corsi also has a relationship with Trump, built on their shared interest in the falsehood that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

David Gray, an attorney for Corsi, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Mueller. Stone declined to comment on Corsi’s plea negotiations. An attorney for Trump declined to comment.

The deal is not yet complete and could still be derailed. Last week, Corsi said his efforts to cooperate with prosecutors had broken down and that he expected to be indicted on a charge of allegedly lying. He described feeling under enormous pressure from Mueller and assured his supporters that he remains supportive of the president.

In a webcast and a series of interviews, Corsi said he had spoken to prosecutors for 40 hours and feared that he could spend much of the remainder of his life in prison.

After two months of interviews, Corsi, 72, said he felt his brain was “mush.”

“Trying to explain yourself to these people is impossible . . . I guess I couldn’t tell the special prosecutor what he wanted to hear,” he added.

Meanwhile, His Lazy and Greediness is costing us money which is going directly into the pockets of the Trump Family Crime Syndicate.

Krampus is coming and he better bring a lot of sacks and cages! A lot of discussion has been held in the media about the idea of collusions being an actual crime as compared to something along the lines of conspiracy. Here’s an interesting take from Sidebars blog. There’s a lot of legal wonky goodness here.

Is collusion a crime? Since the beginning of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, allegations of “collusion” have dominated the debate. President Trump regularly claims there was “no collusion” with the Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election. His attorneys and other supporters also have repeatedly argued that even if collusion took place, that would not be criminal. But last week, in a case brought by Mueller, a federal judge upheld the legal theory under which “collusion” may indeed be a crime.

I’m not sure how the term “collusion” became so central to discussions of the Mueller investigation. It really should be banned altogether. (I know, I know — this from the guy who just wrote a blog post with “collusion” in the title, right? But hey, I can’t unilaterally disarm.) All it does is breed confusion and lead to diversionary arguments about whether collusion is criminal.

It’s true there is no criminal statute titled “collusion.” But as I’ve noted in several places (here and here, for example) the relevant crime is conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. 371. Collusion refers to an agreement with others to achieve some improper end. In criminal law, we call that a conspiracy – a partnership in crime. And the breadth of the federal conspiracy statute makes it particularly well-suited for cases like Mueller’s probe of Russian interference with the election.

Title 18 Section 371 prohibits conspiracies to commit an offense against the United States, which means a conspiracy to commit any federal crime. But it also broadly prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States “in any manner or for any purpose.” For nearly a century the Supreme Court has held that conspiracies to defraud the United States include conspiracies to impair, obstruct, or defeat the lawful functions of the federal government through deceit or dishonesty. This is true even if the actions of the conspirators are not independently illegal, and even if the government is not deprived of any money or property.

In this post in the summer of 2017, I argued Mueller could use this theory to charge that individuals who agreed to work together to interfere with the election through deceptive and dishonest methods conspired to impair, obstruct, or defeat the function of the Federal Election Commission to administer a fair and honest election. This legal theory would apply not only to Russians but also to any members of the Trump campaign or other Americans who worked — or colluded — with them. And it applies whether or not the actions taken by the co-conspirators are otherwise illegal; in other words, the “collusion” itself can be the crime

So, this outing out to burn like a yuletide bonfire by the Mississippi. Here’s hoping it works on the Ptomac too! I even get to quote Page Six which I believe is unique for me. I do not plan to read the book but it should be an interesting topic on the pundit circuit. Page Six presents: “National Enquirer editor writing book about ‘Trump and his women’”

The National Enquirer’s long-held secrets about Donald Trump may be about to get substantially less secret.

Page Six is told that the longtime executive editor of the tabloid, Barry Levine, is penning a book for Hachette about the president.

A source says that the book will look into “Trump and his women,” although other insiders tell us that it could be more wide-ranging, even looking at the formerly cozy relationship between the Enquirer’s owner, David Pecker, and Trump. That said, it’s unclear exactly what Levine’s contract with the Enquirer would allow him to reveal about Pecker.

Of course, Pecker has been at the center of an investigation into alleged hush money payouts made to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels — who both claim to have had affairs with Trump while he was married to First Lady Melania Trump. In August, Pecker was granted immunity in the probe.

Either way, Levine — who left the Enquirer in 2016 after 17 years — will have plenty of previously unreported material for the tome.

In its reporting on the relationship between Pecker and Trump, the Wall Street Journal wrote in June, that, “Tips about Mr. Trump poured into the tabloid after his television show ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ took off in 2002, but the Enquirer turned away stories that could paint him in a bad light, two former American Media employees said,” adding, “Barry Levine … reminded them that Mr. Pecker wouldn’t allow it, these former employees said.” No impediment now exists.

Let’s watch those fundi preachers swallow this.

The Guardian has an exclusive interview with Hillary that’s worth a read: “US media must ‘get smarter’ to tackle Trump, says Hillary Clinton”. Well, again, she speaks the truth to idiots.

Hillary Clinton has criticised the US media over its coverage of Donald Trump, calling on the press to “get smarter” about holding to account a president who is a master of diversion and distraction.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Clinton also offered a stinging rebuke of the Republican party’s base, saying it had become enthralled by the president’s “insults and attacks and entertainment and spectacle”.

“The Republican party has collapsed in the face of Trump,” she said.

Clinton also criticised Trump’s repeated attacks on the press, behaviour she suggested had echoes of authoritarian and fascist political leaders who erode faith in facts and evidence. She said Trump had proved himself skilled at “tweeting and insulting and dominating the news cycles” and said he was too often left unchallenged by the press.

“I believe that where we are now in the political cycle is that the press does not know how to cover these candidates who are setting themselves on fire every day, who are masters of diversion and distraction,” she said.

The former Democratic presidential nominee specifically called out CBS 60 Minutes over its interview with the Trump last month for not asking the president about a major New York Times investigation into alleged tax dodging in his family real estate empire.

“I have a high regard for 60 Minutes and for Lesley Stahl who’s a terrific journalist,” Clinton said, before noting there was “not a single question” about the New York Times story

“So at some point, the press has to get smarter because that’s basically how most voters get their information,” she said, adding that often the quest for “balance” resulted in facts being relegated in favour of opinion.

“If you’re into both-side-ism – so, you know, on the one hand this, and on the other hand that – really there’s no factual basis, there’s no evidence, there’s no record. Everybody lies, everybody gilds the lily. It doesn’t really matter. That just opens a door to somebody like him.”

Is this the beginning of the end? Is the Mueller investigation getting active publicly so we can get a good hint at when our national nightmare ends?

The odds are high that special counsel Robert Mueller will soon announce dramatic news that will escalate our national discussion of the Russia scandal to red-hot levels of intensity that may well compel Congress to begin a serious discussion of impeachment.

Three critical matters were long obvious to informed observers of the Russia investigation. First, Mueller was well aware of the possibility that President Trump would attempt to execute a “Saturday Night Massacre” attack against him and the Russia investigation shortly after the midterm voting was concluded.

Second, Mueller has used the “silent period” during the midterm campaign to advance the investigation assertively without public discussion, under the radar of the media until now. Third, the issues of obstruction of justice and abuse of power are far more grave than is generally realized.

If it is true that Trump aggressively pushed for criminal prosecution of his political opponents and that then-White House counsel Donald McGahn had to intervene, keep in mind that McGahn has spent dozens of hours cooperating with Mueller and his team.

The quiet period for Mueller will soon end. Recently, Mueller and lawyers for Paul Manafort agreed to seek a delay in filing court documents that would detail Manafort’s cooperation with the investigation until next Monday.

In other words, in a few days, there will almost certainly be publicly known major news that will give the court and the American people a much clearer idea of exactly how Manafort has been cooperating with Mueller.

It is very possible, and in my view likely, that there have already been indictments issued and plea bargain agreements reached that for now remain under seal, which will be unsealed and announced in the coming days and weeks.

Trump attempting to name Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general can be seen as a desperate last-ditch effort by Trump — which is ultimately doomed to fail — to derail the Mueller investigation.

This speculation is written for HuffPo by BRENT BUDOWSKY. And here’s one from The Atlantic that tries to explain why so many white women vote themselves into second class citzenship so people of color may be put down to 3rd class citizenship.

Okay, Here we go … wtf is wrong with them? And this is by Katha Pollitt.

For almost three years now, reporters have been begging tired farmers and miners eating their pancakes at Josie’s Diner in Smallville, Nebraska, to say they’ve seen the light. They never do. White evangelical women sneaking away from the Republican Party make for a good story—but they didn’t stop Ted Cruz from getting 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in Texas.

After Trump took the White House, and even after political scientists and pollsters figured out that many Trump supporters were not out-of-work Rust Belters but just your basic well-off Republicans, there was an orgy of self-criticism among Democrats and progressives. Somehow, those voters were our fault; we had neglected them, disrespected them, not felt their pain. The important sociologist Arlie Hochschild wrote a whole book about right-wingers in the Louisiana bayous who rejected curbs on the oil and gas industry that was destroying their way of life and instead blamed their problems on others (people of color, immigrants, women) “cutting in line.” In Strangers in Their Own Land, Hochschild called on us to climb the “empathy wall.” The unstated implication was that liberal condescension—not Trumpers’ racism, say—is the problem.

Another version of this idea is to call on progressive white women to convert other white women who support Trump. Nobody calls on white men to convert white men, because everyone assumes that’s impossible, but for some reason, white women who hate abortion and taxes and Obamacare, who want to “build the wall” and “lock her up,” are supposed to be pliable—and it’s the duty of liberal white women to expiate their own racism by bringing them around. It reminds me of the time years ago when a group of Nation interns came back after spending a weekend at a conference of Evangelical women. They beat themselves up about how those women weren’t feminists; again, it was all our fault.

The assumption is that we have the right ideas; we just haven’t been conveying them persuasively enough to win the other side over. But let me ask a question: When was the last time someone persuaded you to change your worldview? I have written this column for over 20 years, and I doubt I’ve brought more than a handful of people to my way of thinking. So far as I know, the converts were mostly young people who hadn’t given the matter much thought or were leaning that way already. Mostly, what changes people’s minds about important convictions is experience: something new and unusual that shakes their settled views. One of the evangelical Beto fans profiled by the Times was moved by her time meeting with a family separated at the border; it could just as easily have been new friends, a religious experience, falling in love, a charismatic teacher, or being surrounded by people with different beliefs.

Of course, people do change their minds, but probably not after being proselytized by someone they barely know (or, in the case of family, know all too well). You won’t get far inviting your Trumpie co-worker out for coffee so you can politely suggest she’s a racist, or giving your Trumpie cousin a hard time about her Facebook posts at a baby shower.

So why is it so hard to believe that white women who voted for Trump are mostly as fixed in their views as you are? They voted for him for dozens of reasons: to fit in with their family and community, to preserve or gain status, to piss off the libtards, to ally with their menfolk, to keep MS-13 from killing their children, to bring back jobs stolen by Mexico and China, to keep taxes low and black children out of their schools, or because it’s what Jesus wants. You may think their beliefs are bigoted and ill-informed and illogical—which they are. You may marvel that women who think the polite and scandal-free Barack Obama is the Antichrist can believe that foul-mouthed, abusive Donald Trump is God’s instrument, like King David. What you are not going to do is make them see it differently by reminding them that at least 15 women have accused Trump of a range of sexual offenses.

Calling them out as racist, xenophobic foot soldiers of the patriarchy isn’t going to make a dent. Just as you don’t want to be the obedient wife of some porn-addicted Christian bully, they don’t want to be a slutty baby-killer like you. I’m not saying that, given enough time and a pleasing, patient personality—you’ve got one of those, don’t you?—you couldn’t eventually bring one or two around. But is this a good use of your energies?

Go read the rest. It’s full of holiday joy and good advice. I was especially glad to see this as I’ve been called out to “make inroads” as if I haven’t tried in my 40 plus years of committed feminist work. Believe me, when Phyliss Schafly came out of that orange smoke from the trap door with her green make up and cackling, I was as surprised as any other woman just wanting to live her life. I fought them in the 80s and 90s. I tried talking to them in the 80s and 90s and some where in the mid 90s I gave up and decided to spend the rest of my life in liberal enclaves where I just don’t have to deal with them so all these younger women asking me to talk to them can just shove it. I got Kate Millett and Bette Friedan to talk to each other after years of throwing shade at each other in a bar in West Omaha. I consider that my last best diplomatic moment. So, bookmark Katha’s article and send it to any one that’s trying to talk you into creating a bridge that will go no where.

The deal is there are more of us than them. There are more of us coming up all the time and less of them. Just organize and outvote them. Pay attention to judicial appointments and gerrymandering in your state and fight that. Don’t engage in building a bridge to no where.

Have a good long weekend of stuffing yourself with leftovers! And remember, It’s Mueller Time!!!

What’s on your blogging and reading list today?

21 Comments on “Friday Reads: When Black Friday Comes …”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

    So much for Jerad

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    By Jessica Kwong On Thursday, November 23, 2017 – 16:26

    Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, took issue with Trump’s comments and aired his discontent shortly after on CNN, where he serves as a military analyst.

    “We have been winning,” Hertling said. “You’re talking to soldiers and military personnel around the world who have been in this fight for 17 years, and to suddenly be told they’re winning now when they weren’t winning before is somewhat insulting.”

    Hertling said he was thankful that Trump took the time to address soldiers, but that he had seen presidents past make larger gestures in the eight times he was deployed. While serving in Baghdad in 2003, Hertling recalled then-President George W. Bush making a surprise visit to have a Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. officials and serve turkey to troops.

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    Climate change will have dire consequences for US, federal report concludes

    A new US government report delivers a dire warning about climate change and its devastating impacts, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.

    The federally mandated study was supposed to come out in December but was released by the Trump administration on Friday, at a time when many Americans are on a long holiday weekend, distracted by family and shopping.

    David Easterling, director of the Technical Support Unit at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, emphasized that there was “no external interference in the report’s development.” He added that the climate change the Earth is experiencing is unlike any other.
    “The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities,” Easterling said.

    Coming from the US Global Change Research Program, a team of 13 federal agencies, the Fourth National Climate Assessment was put together with the help of 1,000 people, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government.

    It’s the second of two volumes. The first, released in November 2017, concluded that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for the changing climate other than “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases.”

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. NW Luna says:

    Another version of this idea is to call on progressive white women to convert other white women who support Trump. Nobody calls on white men to convert white men, because everyone assumes that’s impossible, but for some reason, white women who hate abortion and taxes and Obamacare, who want to “build the wall” and “lock her up,” are supposed to be pliable—and it’s the duty of liberal white women to expiate their own racism by bringing them around.

    This. I gave up trying to help racist sexists fundamentalists see their disconnect to reality and to call them on their lack of “christian” compassion some years back. Oh, I can’t help reflexively bringing up evidence when one of them comes out with nonsense (such as catching the flu from flu vaccine) but don’t bother to invest much energy into it. It doesn’t work. These types of people are motivated by anger and insecurity. Any evidence which contradicts their worldview is seen as suspect or is ignored.

    It’s unreasonable to put the onus on white feminist allies for not being able to change the minds of Trumpists. We have their skin color but their thinking is alien to us.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup. You don’t see them send Bernie Saunders to rescue Franklin Graham

      • Sweet Sue says:

        No, you don’t.

        • NW Luna says:

          And all of the above doesn’t mean to not call out racism and other hatred when we see it. If the woman ahead of me in line makes a comment about the Latina cashier’s accent, I will point out that her own ancestors were immigrants with their own accents and let’s treat everyone as we would like to be treated ourselves.

          But just because we share a skin tone I’m not under the illusion that engaging her in a nice long conversational attempt to cease her fear of “others” will be suddenly persuasive.

  11. NW Luna says:

    This Black Friday, Amazon employees across Europe are protesting ‘inhuman’ working conditions

    As Americans scoured the Internet in search of shopping deals on Friday, warehouse workers in Europe were protesting the e-commerce giant — in some cases walking off the job to highlight what they said were unsafe working conditions and low pay.

    The protests struck Amazon across the continent, including in Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. In Britain, union officials representing Amazon workers predicted that hundreds would appear at protests throughout the day in five locations.

    “The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman,” said Tim Roache, general secretary of GMB, in a statement on the organization’s website. “They are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances.”

    Earlier this year, the U.K.-based group said a Freedom of Information request aimed at first-responders showed that ambulances had responded to calls for help at Amazon facilities roughly 600 times over the past three years.

  12. OG says:

    You are right about not being able to change other people minds. It is close to impossible. I have changed my mind based on discussions on certain issues. And I know other people who have said their minds were changed on issues after discussion. It does happen. I sometimes ask people what they think on political issues. Then Zi just listen. Then change the subject. I don’t give my opinion unless asked and then not always. The last time someone asked me I told him I did not discuss politics.
    I would hate to think Zi had written a column for twenty years and changed the minds of only a handful of people. Why does he still write the column and for what purpose. Most people need to feel like they are accomplishing sondghing in their work.

    I ate yo much yesterday. Sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. Pecan and pumpkin pie.

    Like the post. Lots of good information.