Posted: October 1, 2018 Filed under: FBI, morning reads | Tags: Kavanaugh investigation, Kavanaugh lies
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Republicans continue to act as though the US is not a constitutional Republic run by rule of law. They scheme to find end runs around everything. The Kavanaugh appointment continues to amaze as a small group of radical religionists, gun fetishists, and greedy wealthy people drive the party to further extremes. The worst thing is our system is actually set up to give over representation to states that resemble little more than outback territories, making them equal to states with much larger populations and economies. We continue to subsidize the Republican base and their rapacious lifestyle choices.
In keeping with making a toothless show of oversight and justice, the week-long Kavanaugh investigation appears to be an effort to minimize the chance of actually getting to the bottom of things. From The New Yorker today comes this bit of information about the constraints placed on the FBI by Trump regimist groupies.
As the F.B.I. began its investigation this weekend into allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, several people who hope to contribute information about him to the F.B.I. said that they were unable to make contact with agents. President Trumphas promised to give the F.B.I. “free rein” in its probe, but the Times reported on Saturday that the White House had asked the F.B.I. to question only four witnesses. In the course of the next day, confusion spread about whom the F.B.I. would be interviewing, and Senate Democrats demanded that the White House provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a copy of the written directive that it had sent to the F.B.I. regarding the investigation.
With a one-week deadline looming over the investigation, some who say they have information relevant to the F.B.I.’s probe are suspicious that the investigation will amount to what one of Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmates called a “whitewash.” Roberta Kaplan, an attorney representing one potential witness, Elizabeth Rasor, a former girlfriend of Kavanaugh’s high-school friend Mark Judge, said her client “has repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and to the F.B.I. that she would like the opportunity to speak to them.” But, Kaplan said, “We’ve received no substantive response.”
Christine Blasey Ford has accused Judge of being an accessory to Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault on her, in 1982, when they were all in high school. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied any role in the assault, and Judge, through his attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, also has denied any recollection of it. Kaplan said that early this past week she began reaching out to the F.B.I. and to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Rasor’s behalf. “She feels a sense of civic duty to tell what she knows,” Kaplan said. “But the only response we’ve gotten are e-mails saying that our e-mails have been ‘received.’ ” At one point, she said, an F.B.I. official suggested she try calling an 800-number telephone tip line.
Debra Katz, the lead attorney for Ford, said that her client, too, had been willing to coöperate with the F.B.I.’s investigation, but as of Sunday the F.B.I. had not contacted her, despite Ford’s central role in the controversy. “We’ve tried repeatedly to speak with the F.B.I, but heard nothing back,” Katz said.
Meanwhile, some Kavanaugh school mates have taken to speaking to the press. It is likely the press finds more than the FBI which may be the one good thing from this brief respite from the Republican ramrod seeking a quick vote. Yale class mate Chad Luddington provided a statement to the NYT documenting Kavanaugh’s ongoing love affair (aka heavy drinking) with beer. We could tell from that display on Thursday that this judge appears to be a raging alcoholic red nose and pink chinks included.
In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale. When I watched Brett and his wife being interviewed on Fox News on Monday, and when I watched Brett deliver his testimony under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I cringed. For the fact is, at Yale, and I can speak to no other times, Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.
I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18- or even 21-year-old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. I would be a hypocrite to think so. However, I have direct and repeated knowledge about his drinking and his disposition while drunk. And I do believe that Brett’s actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences. It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation’s most powerful judges.
I believe a know a bit of where the O’Kavanaugh behavior comes from having two parents each with a parent that lived with the absolute, utterly horrid fallout of drunken Irish fathers. One of them was murdered walking home from the bar and my grandmother was left to raise her two younger sisters. The other just up and left his family leaving my grandfather to quit school in 8th grade to work for the railroad laying track to take care of his mother and two sisters. You grow up with the stories and the hand me down trauma.
Kavanaugh appears to be a bit more than your drunk on the holidays uncle than he pretends to be. Just the horrific attack on Senator Klobucher–the daughter of a long term recovering alcoholic–was enough to trigger any one raised around alcoholics certainly. That I can only imagine with horror.
Klobucher told CNN on Sunday she was “stunned” by his behavior. His lying and vicious verbal attacks were enough to make the Blarney stone blush.
On Sunday, Klobuchar explained the idea behind her line of questioning.
“One idea here is that he simply was drinking more than he was saying over this time period and that he didn’t remember what happened, and so I was just simply trying to get at that and really couching it in the fact that I had alcoholism in my own family,” she told Tapper.
Klobuchar said Kavanaugh’s denial of ever forgetting something after a night of drinking doesn’t add up.
“It doesn’t quite make sense to me, because, first of all, you have these other people from parts of his life who have said that he was belligerent when he was drunk and other things.”
Luddington is now expected to tell the FBI about Kavanuagh’s “violent drunken behavior” per NBC. I wonder if any of this explains the look on the face of Kavanaugh’s wife. It’s fixed and not supportive looking at all. She has the look of some inner terror.
Kavanaugh has been caught in yet another whopper. He tried to sound as if his entry to Yale was of his own making. Kavanaugh, in fact, was a legacy. The man has serious issues with how he has presented himself to people and how he views himself. From Newsweek:
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said underoath that he had “no connections” to Yale prior to attending, arguing that hard work and ambition were the sole factors leading him to study at the prestigious institution of higher education.
However, that statement is verifiably untrue. In fact, Kavanaugh would be classified as a legacy student, because his grandfather Everett Edward Kavanaugh also attended Yale as an undergraduate student, The Intercept reported on Saturday, sharing an image of a 1928 yearbook.
“I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,” Kavanaugh, who currently serves as a federal judge, said while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
Lying under oath should be disqualifying on its own merit. And, it should bring in to question everything Kavanaugh has testified about. From the link above at Current Affairs:
In this case, when we examine the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford honestly, impartially, and carefully, it is impossible to escape the following conclusions:
- Brett Kavanaugh is lying.
- There is no good reason to believe that Christine Blasey Ford is lying. This does not mean that she is definitely telling the truth, but that there is nothing in what Kavanaugh said that in any way discredits her account.
I want to show you, clearly and definitively, how Brett Kavanaugh has lied to you and lied to the Senate. I cannot prove that he committed sexual assault when he was 17, and I hesitate to draw conclusions about what happened for a few minutes in a house in Maryland in the summer of 1982. But I can prove quite easily that Kavanaugh’s teary-eyed “good, innocent man indignant at being wrongfully accused” schtick was a facade. What may have looked like a strong defense was in fact a very, very weak and implausible one.
Let’s begin with Kavanaugh’s denial.
Here is what he says: “I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation.”
And here is the gathering as Ford describes it:
After a day of diving at the club, I attended a small gathering at a house in the Bethesda area. There were four boys I remember specifically being there: Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, a boy named P.J., and one other boy whose name I cannot recall. I also remember my friend Leland attending. I do not remember all of the details of how that gathering came together, but like many that summer, it was almost surely a spur-of-the-moment gathering… People were drinking beer in a small living room/family room-type area on the first floor of the house.
Kavanaugh says that he never attended any event like this. Like what, though? He never attended a small gathering in Bethesda where people were drinking beer? Kavanaugh submitted his own calendars from the summer of 1982 into evidence for the Senate. As he said himself, “the calendars show a few weekday gatherings at friends’ houses after a workout or just to meet up and have some beers.” He says that he never attended a gathering like this, but that’s obviously false, because the type of gathering he says he did attend is exactly the kind she describes.
Coverage of Ford’s allegations has often implied that the “party” at which she alleges she was assaulted was a kind of large Bacchanalian house party. This is a crucial part of Kavanaugh’s “calendar” defense: If there had been a big party, lots of people would have been there, it would probably have been on his summer calendar under “PAR-TAY!” It would have been notable, and since nobody seems to remember it and he even wrote far less significant events on his calendar, Ford must be misremembering.
But Ford has been clear: She is not talking about a big event. She is talking about a few friends and acquaintances hanging around drinking some beer in a living room:
It was not really a party like the news has made it sound. It was not. It was just a gathering that I assumed was going to lead to a party later on that those boys would attend, because they tended to have parties later at night than I was allowed to stay out. So it was kind of a pre-gathering.
It’s impossible to believe Kavanaugh when he says he never attended any event “like the one Dr. Ford describes.” It was a very typical low-key high school event, and it would have been shocking if Kavanaugh never attended such a thing. Indeed, he admits it himself.
You can read the rest at the link. It is a long and compelling argument.
So,this drama continues as well as the Trump/Rosenstein meeting. I can’t imagine what we’ll hear and see by Friday. I only know what’s at stake and this makes me extremely anxious.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: March 10, 2017 Filed under: Affordable Care Act, Affordable Care Act (ACA), Afternoon Reads, corruption, Diplomacy Nightmares, Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, FBI
It’s getting really difficult to find anything upbeat these days out there on the news front. Usually,there are several areas with persistent messes. Today, things folks never thought we’d have to worry about are suddenly in play. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day nor did it fall in day. It seems like the US is on a downward spiral that rivals the speed of light or at least a hefty meteor. Bets on how long we last at this rate?
Suggestions on how can we stop this?
Much of the destruction is going on inside the federal government while Kremlin Caligula puts on a show. We’ve learned that Trump and cronies are planting lobbyists and ideologues to cripple agencies. The State Department appears to be one of the major functions of government that is in a death spiral. The Russian Connections between Trump and his cronies run deep. There’s no longer a need to connect the dots. It’s a four lane highway between Trump Tower with off ramps all over the place.
It appears that the Trump Syndicate may have been laundering money for Russian Oligarchs. Here are some links to get caught up on the Russia fiasco. Many of these are updates from stories that BB wrote about yesterday.
From CNN: “The super-secret division in charge of the Russia investigation“.
From the Palm Beach Post: “Trump in Palm Beach: Why did Russian pay so much for his mansion?”
From The American Interest: “The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections”
By the late 1990s the actual chaos that resulted from Yeltsin’s warped policies had laid the foundations for a strong counterrevolution, including the rise of ex-KGB officer Putin and a massive outpouring of oligarchic flight capital that has continued virtually up to the present. For ordinary Russians, as noted, this was disastrous. But for many banks, private bankers, hedge funds, law firms, and accounting firms, for leading oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP, as well as for needy borrowers like the Trump Organization, the opportunity to feed on post-Soviet spoils was a godsend. This was vulture capitalism at its worst.
The nine-lived Trump, in particular, had just suffered a string of six successive bankruptcies. So the massive illicit outflows from Russia and oil-rich FSU members like Kazahkstan and Azerbaijan from the mid-1990s provided precisely the kind of undiscriminating investors that he needed. These outflows arrived at just the right time to fund several of Trump’s post-2000 high-risk real estate and casino ventures—most of which failed, since people doesn’t go to casinos that much anymore, people prefer to play and gamble online in different sites, for example here is a List of Betfred’s bonus codes for all their products. As Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, told the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in Manhattan in September 2008 (on the basis, he said, of his own “half dozen trips to Russia in 18 months”):
[I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.
All this helps to explain one of the most intriguing puzzles about Donald Trump’s long, turbulent business career: how he managed to keep financing it, despite a dismal track record of failed projects.4
According to the “official story,” this was simply due to a combination of brilliant deal-making, Trump’s gold-plated brand, and raw animal spirits—with $916 million of creative tax dodging as a kicker. But this official story is hokum. The truth is that, since the late 1990s, Trump was also greatly assisted by these abundant new sources of global finance, especially from “submerging markets” like Russia
Rex Tillerson is incapable of doing an actual job. The State Department is in disarray and it’s hard to see how Tillerson is doing anything to change that. Here’s some analysis from David Ignatius writing for WAPO.
Tillerson’s State Department has been in idle gear these past two months. He doesn’t have a deputy or other top aides. His spokesman can’t give guidance on key issues, because decisions haven’t yet been made. Tillerson didn’t attend important meetings with foreign leaders.
As a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, Tillerson is accustomed to a world where a visible display of power is unnecessary, corporate planning is meticulous and office politics are suppressed. But this is Washington
“I am an engineer by training. I seek to understand the facts,” Tillerson said at his confirmation hearing. That sounds reassuring, but it doesn’t fit the glitzy, backstabbing capital that spawned the television series “House of Cards.”
“He may pay some cost up front for not meeting Washington expectations,” notes Stephen Hadley, national security adviser for President George W. Bush and a Tillerson supporter. “The short-term buzz was that he’s out of the loop, but Tillerson is playing for the long game.”
Tillerson couldn’t even get his choice for a deputy pass President Bannon.
The Republicans in the House and Senate are using the chaos to cover up their end game. They’re trying to dismantle everything from Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, the EPA, Social Security, Dodd Frank, and just about anything used to protect citizens from the malfeasance of of short sighted, profit-oriented business practices which rule the US commerce landscape. The GOP is planning a full scale assault on Federal Regulations.
There is a flurry of anti-regulatory legislation floating around Capitol Hill, but it is becoming clear that the key Republican vehicle to rein in rulemaking will be Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s Regulatory Accountability Act. A 16-page draft of the legislation obtained by POLITICO was significantly less radical than several aggressive bills recently passed by the House of Representatives, but industry groups have pinned their hopes on this one attracting support from enough moderate Democrats to overcome a Senate filibuster and make it to Trump’s desk. And even if the Portman bill won’t automatically ensure “the deconstruction of the administrative state” promised by White House adviser Steve Bannon, it could still dramatically curtail the power of government regulators in the long run.
Portman has not yet introduced the bill, but behind the scenes in Washington it is already the subject of furious lobbying by more than 150 public interest groups that oppose it as well as more than 600 business groups that support it. It is much narrower than a bill the House passed last month with the same name, but would still revamp and insert new bureaucratic hurdles into the federal regulatory process, which the Obama Administration used to enact tough new restrictions on coal plants, Wall Street banks, for-profit colleges and other corporate entities. The Portman bill would add new obstacles for agencies to overcome before enacting economically significant rules, require them to choose the most cost-effective alternative, and give judges more discretion to block regulations when the regulated interests object.
“When I visit a factory or small business in Ohio, one of the complaints I hear most from employers is that there are too many costly and unnecessary regulations that limit their ability to invest in their business,” Portman said. “We need a smarter regulatory process that promotes job creation, innovation, and economic growth.”
Portman and the Washington business community are portraying his reforms as a pragmatic approach to burdensome red tape, hoping to distinguish them from more extreme Republican bills that would give Congress a veto over all major rules, eliminate the deference that courts traditionally give to federal agencies, and even forbid those agencies from implementing rules until every lawsuit against them is resolved. House Republicans have passed five regulatory reform bills this year, and have introduced a dozen more, but insiders say most of them are doomed to die in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to overcome a filibuster. That’s why Portman is now negotiating over his more temperate language with Democratic senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who are both up for reelection in 2018 in states Trump won easily. Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida and independent Angus King of Maine have supported similar bills in the past.
Trump has not outlived his usefulness to the Republican Agenda of installing a warped Christian Theocracy and a kleptocracy capable of ruining the environment and killing people. Portman obviously decided Trump was the way to sneak a lot of things through.
And then there’s Paul Ryan who thinks the only thing that should occur right now is decimation of the ACA regardless of the results. It’s right there on his Power Point. It pretty much looked like the Republican version was DOA yesterday but now Senate Republicans are actually talking about changing the Senate rules to get it shoved through one way or another. This is despite the massive outrage about the repeal.
A growing number of conservative lawmakers on Thursday urged GOP leaders to push the limits of how much of the health law they can reshape under a powerful procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation — and to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if she doesn’t decide in their favor.
Such a gambit would require the unlikely buy-in of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a noted institutionalist who earlier this year avoided talk of changing his chamber’s rules to kill the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.
If the Senate changes precedent for what can be passed under reconciliation now, a future Senate — whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats — could enact a wide range of legislation with just a simple majority.
“There are limits to what we can do” on Obamacare while complying with the Senate rules, Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, said in a Thursday floor speech. Under reconciliation guidelines, bills can be passed in the Senate with a simple majority and cannot be filibustered, as long as their provisions have a direct impact on spending or tax levels.
I wake up every day in fear of what’s coming next. It seems that everything I’ve ever planned my old age around is now collapsing around me. The Republican Plan is a massive DumpsterFire. Paul Krugman has some great analysis.
Obamacare rests on three main pillars. Insurance companies are regulated, prevented from denying coverage or charging higher prices to Americans with pre-existing conditions. Families receive subsidies linked to both income and premiums, to help them buy insurance. And there is a penalty for those who don’t buy insurance, to induce people to sign up even if they’re currently healthy
Trumpcare — the White House insists that we not call it that, which means that we must — preserves some version of all three elements, but in drastically, probably fatally weakened form.
Insurers are still barred from excluding the sick, but they’re allowed to charge older Americans — who need insurance the most — much higher premiums.
Subsidies are still there, in the form of tax credits, but they’re no longer linked to either income (as long as it’s below $75,000) or the cost of insurance.
And the tax on those who don’t sign up becomes a small surcharge — paid to insurance companies, not the public — on people who sign up after previously letting coverage lapse.
Affluent young people might end up saving some money as a result of these changes. But the effect on those who are older and less affluent would be devastating. AARP has done the math: a 55-year-old making $25,000 a year would end up paying $3,600 a year more for coverage; that rises to $8,400 for a 64-year-old making $15,000 a year. And that’s before the death spiral.
For the combination of price hikes and weakened penalties would lead many healthy Americans to forgo insurance. This would worsen the risk pool, causing premiums to rise sharply — and remember, subsidies would no longer adjust to offset this rise. The result would be even more people dropping out. Republicans have been claiming that Obamacare is collapsing, which isn’t true. But Trumpcare, if implemented, would collapse in a Mar-a-Lago minute.
How could House Republicans under the leadership of Paul Ryan, who the media keeps assuring us is a smart, serious policy wonk, have produced such a monstrosity?
The only thing that’s been fun about this is the Twitter Attack on Paul Ryan and his Power Points.
So, I know a few people that have been basically kidnapped by their families and put into conversion therapy. This story of a survivor is chilling reading.
TC, a 19-year-old gay man who spoke to The Huffington Post anonymously for this article in order to protect his safety, is a survivor of conversion therapy practices.
TC was subjected to conversion therapy in 2012 when he was 15 years old after his parents discovered he was gay. The conversion therapy practices took place in the basement of a church after school hours, and were explained to TC and his parents as having two separate components. He told The Huffington Post:
The first step ― which usually lasted six months ― [is] where they “deconstruct us as a person.” Their tactics still haunt me. Aversion therapy, shock therapy, harassment and occasional physical abuse. Their goal was to get us to hate ourselves for being LGBTQ (most of us were gay, but the entire spectrum was represented), and they knew what they were doing…. The second step of the program, they “rebuilt us in their image.” They removed us of everything that made us a unique person, and instead made us a walking, talking, robot for Jesus. They retaught us everything we knew. How to eat, talk, walk, dress, believe, even breathe. We were no longer people at the end of the program.
TC said that the conversion therapy sessions would take place every weekday, with shock therapy treatments lasting approximately an hour, and aversion therapy lasting three.
This is torture. Pure and Simple.
So, this is what they’d fund while getting Insurance 101 wrong.
Paul Ryan actually said “The whole idea of Obamacare is…the people who are healthy pay for the…sick. It’s not working, & that’s why it’s in a death spiral.”
No Speaker that’s a risk pool and it’s how insurance works.
Everyone pays into the pot and draws on it when they’re sick. Younger people, who tend to be healthier than older people, pay for health insurance like everyone else. They’ll rely on it when when they need it, probably more when they’re older and there are younger, healthier people filing in behind them. It’s the same with car insurance
. Some people pay for decades and never get into an accident and never collect on their coverage (though the likelihood of anyone never using health insurance is unlikely).That’s what actuarial figures are all about, so an insurance system can assess the risks of segments of customers to determine what everyone needs to put into the pot so there’s enough to pay out when someone needs the money.
Ryan has perhaps been on taxpayer-paid health insurance for so long that he has forgotten how the concept works. He believes that’s only the way it works for Obamacare. “The conceit of Obamacare,” he said at his press conference on Trumpcare, is that “young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for the older, sicker people.” That’s why Obamacare is in a “death spiral,” he noted.
Twitter had a pretty predictable response to Ryan’s summary of health insurance: Duh.
Meanwhile, every one except the stupid, the greedy, the mean, and the crazy resist.
Well, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: October 30, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, birth control, Discrimination against women, Environmental Protection, ethics, FBI, Feminists, Main Stream Media, misogyny, open thread, psychology, Rape Culture, Reproductive Health, the GOP, The Media SUCKS, The Right Wing, Voter Ignorance, Women's Healthcare | Tags: Hatch Act
Let me start this post with this petition, I signed it way early this morning…like around 3am, at that time it was around 130 signatures.
Investigate James Comey for Hatch Act Violations | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government
Demand James Comey immediately resign his position as director of the FBI. Immediately upon his departure launch an investigation of his public statements about the ongoing investigation relating to State Department handling of classified materials as blatant attempts to influence the election in violation of the Hatch Act.
It is currently at 684 signatures. Which is not very much, and that is rather surprising to me. what do you think?
Quick note, sorry this post is late. We went for a hike earlier today down the Appalachian Trail. It was beautiful, but man was it difficult for my fat ass to make it up those steep rocks. I will post some pictures at the end of the post…
Now, back to the thread.
According to CNN, these emails where in the hands of the FBI weeks ago. FBI discovered Clinton-related emails weeks ago – CNNPolitics.com
But the FBI didn’t disclose the discovery until Friday, raising questions about why the information was kept under wraps and then released only days before the election.
The emails from Clinton aide Huma Abedin were found on a computer belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
CNN reported on September 22 that prosecutors in Manhattan had issued a subpoena for Weiner’s communications as part of an investigation into alleged sexting with an underage girl.
FBI criminal investigators soon after stumbled on the Abedin emails.
By early October, it was clear to investigators that the emails may relate to the Clinton email server investigation, law enforcement officials said.
But internal discussions at the FBI about how to proceed continued over the ensuing weeks.
The delay was first reported by the Washington Post.
In his Friday letter to Congress, FBI Director James Comey said he was briefed on the new findings a day earlier. He didn’t say when he first learned of the existence of the emails.
FBI officials moved to disclose the development then because they feared the information would leak otherwise, law enforcement officials said.
Comey’s notification to Congress of the review is rocking the final days of the presidential race. Democrats are furious that Comey would revive the explosive issue of Clinton’s email server so close to the election. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is seizing on the review after spending weeks on the defense, hoping it will be a potent issue he can ride until the end of the contest.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta blasted Comey on Sunday for disclosing the review.
“He might have taken the first step of actually having looked at them before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign, so close to the voting,” Podesta said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
It is also known that the FBI did not have a warrant for these emails.
What is even more disturbing is that one asshole in particular tweeted the letter before Democrats saw it….Senior Dem aide: Chaffetz tweeted Comey’s letter before Democrats even saw it – Shareblue
Now we learn that Democratic lawmakers may not have even seen the letter before Chaffetz, eager to influence the outcome of the election, tweeted it.
A senior Democratic congressional aide provided the following statement to Shareblue:
Democratic Ranking Members on the relevant committees didn’t receive Comey’s letter until after the Republican Chairmen. In fact, the Democratic Ranking Members didn’t receive it until after the the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz, tweeted it out and made it public.
This is disturbing, but not surprising. During the Benghazi hearings, it become abundantly clear that Republican members were not seeking the truth but were cynically playing politics with the lives of dead Americans to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The strange events of October 29 are further confirmation that Republican politicians like Chaffetz are using their office not to do the people’s business, but to target a single Democrat for destruction, using any means necessary.
They will fail, because voters see through their dirty tricks.
24 hours after Chaffetz pulled his stunt and Trump’s campaign jumped on the bandwagon, it has backfired. Clinton’s supporters are outraged and energized, more eager than ever to defend Clinton against these scurrilous attacks.
I hope the editors of ShareBlue are correct about this latest attack backfiring. The thought of a Trump presidency is too much for me to bear.
The rest of today’s links are varied. I will post them in link dump fashion:
Another major earthquake in Italy overnight:
‘There are no towns’: Most powerful earthquake for 36 years hits centre of Italy near Norcia | The Independent
Latest Italian earthquake devastates medieval churches and other sites – The Washington Post
A strong earthquake that shook Italy on Sunday morning took a heavy toll on historic churches and other landmark buildings, some dating back to the Middle Ages.
No deaths were reported, and only “tens” of injuries, but the physical damage was extensive.
In Preci, the walls of a hillside cemetery came crashing down on top of the Abbey of Saint Euticius, founded in the 5th century by a group of Syrian monks and hermits and now crushed under the weight of its own burial ground.
The old town of Arquata del Tronto, in the central region of Le Marches, was virtually destroyed, along with its 13th century church dedicated to Saint Francis. Only the castle remains, still standing guard over the ruins below.
In Norcia, a city that considers itself the birthplace of pork sausages, three of the most important churches were heavily damaged.
Yes, you read that right…the birthplace of pork sausages.
Sunday’s quake was the strongest of a recent flurry of earthquakes. It registered 6.5 on the Richter scale, according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, and was felt the entire length of the Italian boot. It struck at 7:40 a.m. local time. The strongest hit areas were Le Marche and Umbria.
Even in Rome, more than 110 miles to the east, the papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls was damaged. It shows some cracks on its facade, some cornices have crumbled, and a candelabra is at risk of dropping down from the ceiling.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed that Italy would rebuild the homes, churches and other damaged structures and that financial resources would be found to restore essential elements of the national identity and cultural heritage. “We will rebuild everything,” he said Sunday, “the houses, the churches, the shops. We are dealing with marvelous territories, territories of beauty.”
The number of human casualties could have been much greater, but residents of many of the historic town centers had been moved out when the tremors began last week.
This last bit is sad…look what happened to a rose window that was repaired just recently.
“In Italy we do not throw away the rubble,” said Fabio Carapezza-Guttuso, the Ministry of Culture’s national crisis management unit officer. “Even single stones are numbered and handpicked so that they can later be used in the reconstruction, along with pieces of wood, iron and beams. It’s a big effort, and that is why we employ archaeologists to sift through the ruins.”
Carapezza-Guttuso mentioned, as an example, the work done to restore the rose window of the church of Saint Augustine in Amatrice, which was badly damaged in a deadly earthquake in August. That window is now ready — but what remained of the church collapsed Sunday.
The latest in men’s birth control…halted, because the men can’t take the side effects.
Injectable birth control for men can prevent pregnancy – Study | TRT World That link will give you the particulars.
But as for the pussies who can’t take the pain…depression…or acne: Yes, contraceptives have side effects – and it’s time for men to put up with them too | The Independent
Apparently women can have such ailments as depression and acne thrust upon them for the greater good of preventing an unwanted pregnancy, but the same level of discomfort cannot be expected of men
The finding that the latest version of the injected male contraceptive is now very effective is fantastic news. In a trial of 320 men, researchers found that, over a one-year period, it was 96 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy. A spokesperson for the World Health Organisation said: “The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it.”
But the trial of the drug has already been halted – because just 20 of the men (out of 320, don’t forget) found the side effects of the injection intolerable and it was decided that more research needed to be done to try and counteract them. Those side effects included depression, muscle pain, mood swings, acne and changes to the libido.
Do any of those side effects sound familiar? Oh yes, they’re the minor side effects of the combined pill, used by 48 per cent of women aged 16 to 19, 64 per cent of women aged between 20 and 24 and a majority (55 per cent) of those aged between 25 and 29.
How sad for these poor men – they couldn’t handle the side effects that so many women have to deal with every day just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Women have had to bear the responsibility of contraceptionsince the pill was first launched in 1962 – and all of the side effects that go along with it.
Men Quit Male Birth Control Study Because It Was Giving Them Mood Swings
As most anyone with a uterus can attest to, hormonal contraception can have some serious side effects, including nausea, headaches, weight gain, decreased libido, depression, and yes, mood swings.
Broadly reports on new research from the University of Edinburgh which suggests that men might also be able to effectively take hormonal birth control, meaning women wouldn’t solely have to suffer than burden. But before you throw a parade/throw out your pills, you should know that the study was stopped because men were experiencing side effects that many women using hormonal contraception currently experience.
Let us stick with periods for a bit…
Period pain is officially as bad as a heart attack – so why have doctors ignored it? The answer is simple | The Independent
Men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain. For women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms. It’s thought that this is because women are seen as exaggerating pain and being ‘dramatic’ due to sexist stereotypes
John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, revealed this week that research shows period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack”. He said: “Men don’t get it and it hasn’t been given the centrality it should have. I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.”
Dr Imogen Shaw, a GP specialising in women’s healthcare, welcomed his comments, saying: “I wouldn’t say [period pain] has been hugely investigated,” and when asked if the issue would be taken more seriously if men experienced it, said: “I suspect there would be, being very cynical.”
It is extraordinary how little the medical profession engages with menstruation. Although recent years have seen period taboos broken through social media campaigns, this has yet to permeate medical discourse – and periods are seldom given serious medical consideration in research. Scant research has been conducted on specific pain prevention or pain relief and devices such as tampons, moon-cups and sanitary towels remain rudimentary.
It’s not only women’s period pain which is taken less seriously, either – ignoring women’s pain is a concerning practise across medicine. Recent research has shown that women’s pain is taken much less seriously by doctors generally.
And in other period news: Nepalese girls take photos of all the things they can’t touch during their periods due to menstrual taboos | The Independent
Stigma around menstruation in rural Nepal can result in poor-health and lack of education for women, but 7 girls from Sindhuli have fought back – with photography
“Being able to deal with periods in a hygienic and dignified way is crucial to women’s wellbeing. It helps women feel that they are able to play a full role in society, no matter what time of the month.”
Sushma Diyali,15: “This is the picture of mirror and comb that I use at my house. In our society, when girls experience their first menstruation we are not allowed to look into mirrors or comb our hair.Me and my family do not follow such practice. I think mirrors and combs are the means of cleanliness and as a human it’s very important that you should stay clean and healthy. Only if my friends just like me could grow in an environment where are no limitations regarding menstruation and receive more support from the families, they can set themselves free and explore greater potential and opportunities around them is what I think.” (WaterAid)
Just a few more links for you, they follow along…
The 18th-Century Devotional Painting that Documents a Brutal Mastectomy‘
On April 25, 1777, a Mexican woman underwent an operation to remove six tumors from her breast. She commissioned an artist to paint it.
These Women Born Before Suffrage Will Finally Vote For A Female President | Huffington Post It is about damn time!
During The Trump-Clinton Election, An Exhibit Of Posters For Women’s Rights | The ARTery
“Women’s Rights Are Human Rights,” the title of a poster exhibit at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, comes from a speech Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, then first lady of the United States, gave to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995.
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference,” Clinton said, “it is that human rights are women’s rights. And women’s rights are human rights.”
This should put thinks into perspective: Officer had a ‘rapability’ scale for female drivers, ex-cop says – The Washington Post
But back to other less disturbing things.
Brain scans can help predict whether depression patients will respond to medication
Fossilized Dinosaur Brain Discovered For First Time: Similar To Crocodiles And Birds : SCIENCE : Tech Times
The Myers-Briggs Types of 101 Famous Authors
For those of you who are not familiar with Myers-Briggs or the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), it is a personality profiling system based on Jung’s typological theory that was developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. In the Myers-Briggs typology system, there are sixteen personality types consisting of four letters: E for extrovert or I for introvert, S for sensor or N for intuitive, T for thinker or F for feeler, and P for perceiver or J for judger. Psychologist David Keirsey later sorted these types into four temperaments. You can read more about Myers-Briggs here and find books about it here. Myers-Briggs typology can offer a lot of insight into how someone thinks, and in the case of an author, how someone writes.
Take a look at the breakdown at the link.
Still I’ve got more interesting articles for you.
‘Violence more common’ in Bible than Quran, text analysis reveals | The Independent
After The Maltese Falcon: how film noir took flight | Film | The Guardian
Ushering in an uneasy world of femmes fatales and shady sleuths, The Maltese Falcon marked the beginnings of film noir. Seventy-five years on, how can this genre speak to our times?
Fossilized Dinosaur Brain Discovered For First Time: Similar To Crocodiles And Birds : SCIENCE : Tech Times
Now, tell me…why would anyone buy this stuff: Soylent halts sales of its powder as customers keep getting sick – LA Times
Liquid meal maker Soylent is stopping sales of its flagship powder, warning that a handful of customers reported stomach sickness after consuming it.
Soylent had already halted shipments of its months-old nutrition bar because of customer complaints of diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomachs. In an announcement late Thursday, the Los Angeles company said there appears to be a common ingredient that’s causing trouble in the latest version of its nutritional powder and its snack bar. The products share several common ingredients, Soylent said, but the investigation isn’t complete.
Backed by more than $20 million in venture capital, Soylent has emerged as one of several popular start-ups hoping to change what and how people eat. Meant to be mixed with water or other liquids, the powder has enough fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients to replace a traditional meal, according to the company. People looking for a quick fix, such as software programmers in Silicon Valley, have become devotees.
Listen to me…Soylent Green is people!
Last link for the day, Why Does Fall Foliage Turn So Red and Fiery? It Depends. – The New York Times
Leaves scream their final cries in color before dropping to the ground. Their shouts — in golden, crimson or scarlet — eventually fade to brown bellows, and their lifeless bodies dry up on the forest floor. It absorbs their crinkly corpses and that’s it — worm food. The fall of a leaf in autumn is an orchestrated death. A complex, brilliant, beautiful death.
Right now across the United States, fall foliage season is peaking, and everyone’s out to get a peep at the fiery show. Hiking trails are crowded. Mountain roads are packed, andleaf cams are getting lots of love. When you think of it as watching the death of leaves, it sounds morbid, but it’s captivating nonetheless. Does the way some turn red in the process serve any purpose?
Leaves actually start out yellow. Chlorophyll, the chemical responsible for giving leaves their green appearance and converting light to energy during photosynthesis, just overpowers it in the spring and summer. But when temperature, daylight and weather events like rain or drought cause leaves to die in the fall, chlorophyll breaks down and reveals the yellow or orange helper chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids that were there all along.
Red is another story, because it’s made on purpose. As some leaves die, they produce chemicals called anthocyanins (also found in the skin of grapes and apples) from built up sugars. These chemicals produce a red pigment that can combine with green pigments left from chlorophyll and display different shades of red.
How bright this red is depends on what species the leaf belongs to, its inherent genetics and the environment around it — including the forest, the tree, and individual leaves, said John Silander, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at The University of Connecticut.
Well, the leaves are not as brilliant as I have seen before here in Banjoville…but they sure are pretty. Take a look, this is at Cowrock Mountain on the Appalachian Trail.
This is an open thread.
Posted: June 13, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, American Gun Fetish, Barack Obama, Breaking News, children, Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, FBI, Gun Control | Tags: AR-15, mass shootings, NRA, Orlando Shooting
Once again we see the results of toxic religious zealotry and resentment whipped up to the point that some nutter feels compelled to kill in the case of the Orlando massacre. This occurs all too frequently in this country. You may recall the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting where we saw Robert Dear go on a shooting spree with the same deadly combination of anger whipped up by right wing politicians and preachers, mental illness, and easy access to weapons. One claimed ISIS inspiration and Islamofascism. The other was inspired by Christofascists in the US that bring you terror in the name of Fetus Fetishism.
We still haven’t heard about the motives of the Indiana man–a 20 year old white guy–in terms of why he was going after participants and viewers of a California Gay Pride parade. Suffice it to say, the politicization of the private lives of the GLBT community by Republicans, their presidential candidate, and the various religious whackos that they court likely will come into play at some point.
Harassing and encouraging anger is just one political tool used regularly by Republicans these days. I have noticed that the silence is deafening right now on James Wesley Howell. The press can is clearly focused on the bloodbath and the sensational background of the Pulse Shooter rather than wondering why we manage to get bigger and badder displays of hatred and anger these days. I’m not sure that most people realize that any Abrahamic-based religion is going to beget violence in some folks. It goes with territory. A few of them take retribution and strict commandments from their angry sky fairy way too seriously. This is especially the case if they have some kind of severe emotional or mental disorder.
(Spoiler Alert) It’s the easy access to guns of all kinds in this country. The irresponsible and cynical use of anger and outrage to gain power and money is out of control. Religion is just another vehicle to whip up the anger and the outrage and it frequently turns deadly.
The weapon of choice for mass shooters is the AR-15 rifle. This is one of the weapons that was included in the assault weapons ban signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 that expired in 2004. The rifle was used in Orlando, Aurora, Newton, and San Bernadino. It’s easily obtainable and the latest shooter–who had a history of Domestic Violence and was under the eye of the FBI for terrorist rantings–had a license to carry it and to obtain it legally. Let that sink in.
There were calls to ban the weapon after the Newtown shootings, which led to a spike in sales. Gun manufacturers have called the AR-15 one of the most popular weapons in the U.S., with more than 3 million estimated to be in circulation.
“It was designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did this morning: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease,” lawyer Josh Koskoff, who’s representing Newtown families in their lawsuit against the gun industry, said Sunday.
Regulations on magazine capacity for the weapon vary from state to state, but it can fire 45 rounds a minute.
Most forms of the gun had been prohibited under the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire in 2004, following ferocious lobbying by the National Rifle Association.
The NRA has used its lobbying might in the years since to bury attempts to revive the ban.
“During the decade of the ban, there were half as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade before, and a third as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade after,” said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a strategist involved in the original legislation.
Hillary Clinton has called for a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban that her husband signed in his first term. This is one of the reasons that I am so happy she is the nominee. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has some extremely neoconfederate views of gun control that he reiterated yesterday. He believes it is a state and local issue, voted against the Brady Bill many many times, and has supported relieving gun manufacturers and stores of any liability for the damage done by their product.
Hillary Clinton has called for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history that left 49 people and the gunman dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
In forthright comments a day after the massacre at the Pulse Club, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic party issued a call for a return to “commonsense gun safety reform” and lambasted the Republican-controlled Congress for what she called a “totally incomprehensible” refusal to address the country’s lax gun laws.
“We can’t fall into the trap set up by the gun lobby that says if you cannot stop every shooting you shouldn’t try to stop any,” she said.
Clinton’s tough stance on gun control sets up a torrid fight with her Republican rival for the White House Donald Trump, who has positioned himself as a champion of the second amendment and dismissed any calls for greater gun controls as weakness. She insisted that while she did believe that law-abiding American citizens have the right to own guns, it was also possible to see that “reasonable, commonsense measures” could be taken that would make people more safe from guns.
One of the things that stuns me is the ease with which a guy on the FBI threat radar could get a permit to carry and purchase a rifle that no civilian should own.
A day after the deadliest mass shooting in US history, questions are mounting over why the shooter Omar Mateen was legally able to buy an assault rifle and handgun despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies.
Mateen, 29, launched his attack on Pulse club, an LGBT venue in downtown Orlando celebrating its popular Latin dance night, at 2.02am on Sunday morning.
Twenty minutes into the spree he took the bizarre step of making a 911 call in which he reportedly referred both to Islamic State and the Tsarnaevs, the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.
Sunday’s attack – which left 49 clubgoers dead and 53 injured – was launched by Mateen using a .223-caliber assault rifle and 9mm semi-automatic pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition that had been purchased quite lawfully in the week before the rampage using Mateen’s firearms license. Mateen was shot dead by police.
He also held a permit to work as a security guard, which he did at a courthouse in Port St Lucie, Florida, even though he was interviewed three times by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 following separate reports of extremist behavior and connections to terrorism that were in the end deemed insubstantial.
Mateen was released because no evidence of wrongdoing was found by the FBI. He’s a natural born American so that provides him the usual protections. This is something that appears to have blown completely pass Donald Trump whose rhetoric and bragging were dialed up to 11 yesterday. He revisited his call to ban all Muslims from entering the country despite the fact that all three of the shooters claiming support for Islamofascim–Nidal Hassn (Fort Hood),Syed Rizwan Farook, (San Bernardino) , and Mateen (Orlando)–were American citizens. Only Farook’s wife–Tashfeen Malik–was foreign born.
The presumptive Republican nominee pulled no punches in a lengthy statement yesterday, going so far as to call for Barack Obama to resign and reiterating his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (despite the fact that the shooter was born in New York).
“In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’. For that reason alone, he should step down,” Trump said in his press release. “If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency. If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”
“We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States,” Trump added. “Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.” (To be fair, this mischaracterizes Clinton’s position.)
The statement followed a stream of self-congratulatory tweets.
Clinton has decided to adopt the use of radical Islam. Let’s hope she will also be brave enough to point out radical Christians like Ted Cruz’s “Kill the Gays” pastor or the horrid group at Westborough Baptist Church. She used the term on several morning news shows today.
Hillary Clinton on Monday broke from President Barack Obama in referring to the terrorist attack as “radical Islamism,” countering Donald Trump’s accusations that both she and Obama are weak on tackling terrorist threats.
In an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Monday morning, Clinton said words matter less than actions, but that she didn’t have a problem using the term.
“And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. It matters that we got Bin Laden, not what name we called him,” Clinton said. “But if he is somehow suggesting I don’t call this for what it is, he hasn’t been listening. I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.”
Both terms “mean the same thing,” Clinton continued, adding, “And to me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point.”
“I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it,” Clinton said later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reiterating, “it’s the same.”
The U.S. cannot, on the other hand, she added, “demonize, demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.” Clinton also said she could assure Americans that she is equally committed to fighting Islamic extremism as well as protecting law-abiding Muslims.
The President spoke on the radicalization of Mateen several hours ago.
President Obama said Monday that the Orlando mass murder was “inspired” by violent extremist propaganda on the internet and there’s no evidence the killing spree was ordered by ISIS.
“We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” Obama said from the Oval Office, using another name from the Islamic State terror group. “It does appear that at the last minute he announced allegiance to ISIL.”
Obama said investigators are tracing Omar Mateen’s “pathway” to murder by reviewing his internet searches and other materials.
“It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet,” Obama said.
“All those materials are currently being searched … so we will have a better sense of pathway that the killer took in the making a decision to launch this attack.”
Obama made the brief remarks after meeting with FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other security officials.
The Orlando shooting and the shooting that might have been in California both are rooted in hate and easy access to guns. Both shooter and potential shooter had histories of mental illness. The Orlando shooter had a history of Domestic violence which in many states would stop him from getting access to any gun. Clearly, we have a problem in this country with hate and guns turned on the hapless population. One of our political parties has weaponized hatred and bigotry then enabled shooters by catering to all the whims of the most radical elements of the NRA gun lobby.
Clinton is right. This has to end on all accounts.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?