Good Day Sky Dancers!
Today’s pictures are of women artists and their self portraits from the National Geographic and other sources.
There’s some very good news out of the Supreme Court today for Louisiana Women and women every where in the country! From NBC News: “Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The measure would have required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic.”
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.
The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.
Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.
The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”
Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”
Even small victories based on stare decisis are still victories.
Well, Iran always makes things interesting. You have to give them that. From The Sydney Morning Herald: “Iran issues arrest warrant for Donald Trump, requests help from Interpol.”
Tehran: Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol to help detain US President Donald Trump and others it believes carried out a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly says.”
While Trump faces no danger of arrest, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and more than 30 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face “murder and terrorism charges,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported on Monday.
Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.
From BuzzFeed News: “Democrats Won’t Let Republicans Speak In Coronavirus Hearings If They Won’t Wear Masks. “We’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this,” Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn told Republicans.”
Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis are threatening to bar Republican members from participating future meetings in-person after they showed up to a hearing on Friday without masks.
Subcommittee Chair Jim Clyburn is sending a letter to ranking member Steve Scalise, warning he would not recognize members in hearings and meetings without proper face coverings; the chair must recognize members to speak and participate in committee business.
“Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician’s requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any Member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the Member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician’s guidance,” Clyburn said in a letter to Scalise. The letter further recommends members participate remotely if they insist on not wearing masks.
The letter comes after a monthslong debate in Congress where Republicans have repeatedly disregarded recommendations and then a requirement from Capitol health experts to wear face coverings. The disagreement on the topic came to a head at the end of a Friday hearing when Clyburn reminded his Republican colleagues they were in violation of a mandate handed down by the attending physician, even as disposable masks were stationed outside the hearing room for members to use.
“For the United States House of Representatives meetings, in a limited and closed space such as a committee hearing room for greater than 15 minutes face coverings are required,” Clyburn said, reading the Capitol health official’s order. “And we’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this. I will stay in the safety of my home as I would ask all you to do.”
Scalise responded to Clyburn by saying members of the House are following guidelines on how to social distance just fine, suggesting mask-wearing is an additional precautionary measure.
From Kyle Cheney at Politico: “House Dems propose strengthening Congress’ contempt power to break administration stonewalls. “We’ve seen unprecedented and illegal obstruction by the Trump administration to Congress,” Ted Lieu said.”
House Democrats increasingly frustrated by the Trump administration for defying subpoenas are proposing legislation that would ratchet up their power to punish executive branch officials who reject their requests.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and five other membersof the House Judiciary Committee, unveiled a rule change Monday to formalize and expand Congress’ power of “inherent contempt” — its authority to unilaterally punish anyone who defies a subpoena for testimony or documents.
Though Congress has long had inherent contempt power, it has been in disuse since before World War II. This power, upheld by courts, has included the ability to levy fines and even jail witnesses who refuse to cooperate with congressional demands.
But such extreme measures have fallen out of favor over the years, as Congress has relied instead primarily on litigation to enforce its subpoenas and officials across government have acknowledged the unappetizing prospect of using force to impose its will. It’s even trickier when applied to a coequal branch of government, which may have its own privileges and protections to assert.
More news is coming forth about the Russian bounties. This is from WAPO: “Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments.”
Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.
Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as “green on blue” hostile incidents by members of Afghan security forces, which are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.
The intelligence was passed up from the U.S. Special Operations forces based in Afghanistan and led to a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March, the people said.
This is really unfolding in a particularly quick way. Here’s an opinion from Greg Sargent at WAPO’s Plum Line: “As Trump’s corruption gets worse, some Democrats want a tougher response.”
The big revelations of the moment — the reports that Russia may have paid bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, and the news that a U.S. attorney was ousted after investigating Trump cronies — are a reminder that Trump has found a gaping hole in our system.
If a president refuses to cooperate with congressional oversight in just about every conceivable way — and if that president has the near-total backing of a party that controls one chamber of Congress — any such scrutiny can basically be ground to a halt, with no repercussions.
But a group of House Democrats is now calling on its chamber to get a lot tougher in this regard.
This group of Democrats — which is led by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and includes other high-profile lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee — is introducing a resolution Monday that, if successful, would dramatically increase the House’s ability to compel compliance with oversight.
This resolution would create a new, modernized mechanism by which the House could seek to levy stiff fines on officials who defy subpoenas for testimony or documents. It would in effect bring into the 21st century a power that Congress has used only rarely in the past — the power to enforce its own subpoenas.
“The administration can simply choose not to have witnesses appear and not produce documents, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Lieu told me, noting that “we’ve seen the Trump administration getting worse, not better, in terms of both obstruction and engaging in reckless conduct.”
One last OpEd piece from WAPO by Elizabeth Spiers: “Trump’s ‘silent majority’ isn’t a majority, and it’s far from silent. But the rhetoric lays the groundwork for crying foul when the true majority wins.”
The Trump team’s declaration that a silent majority lurks, ready to return Trump to the White House, is at odds with almost everything else the president says and does. His efforts to make it harder to vote by opposing voting by mail in the middle of a pandemic, and his repeated claims that Democrats are plotting election fraud, suggest a distinct nervousness about the majority’s true will. He appears to be laying the groundwork for explaining away a Democratic victory in November, as the result of deception and trickery. On June 22 he tweeted, in typical fashion: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” In a system where success usually depends on grasping what a majority of the electorate wants, the sound strategy might be to reach out from one’s base to voters in the middle. Trump instead is heavily invested in the assumption that his enthusiastic minority will determine the outcome — even if it means that the people who don’t like him are prevented from voting.
These are hopeful signs in a fight to stop some of the most disturbing trends of the Trumpist Regime. However, the fight is on so many levels and we battle the rich and powerful and the firmly entrenched like Mitch McConnell. Take this idiot as an great example. He’s not on the front pages like Police Reform and Abortion Restrictions. And we still don’t make enough noise about voter restrictions in so many Republican-controlled states.
They’re killing our land, our children, our hopes and dreams, our democracy, our economy, our climate and its ecosystems, our indigenous peoples, Black Men, and just about everything with their greed, racism, misogyny, and rigid theocratic ideologies that punish women, the GLBT community, and science and rational thought.
We just have to hang in there.
Remember we have leadership that will stand up to it all
Have a great week Sky Dancers! Do be safe! Stay home if possible! Wear a mask! Be kind, gentle, and giving to yourself and others!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
So, just in case you’re not of the sportsball persuasion like me, I thought I’d mention our LSU Tigers have a big game today in the Super Dome and the Orange Snot blob has decided it might be a good place to be cheered at even though outside he will be jeered at. The Tigers are going after their 4th National Championship and, of course, I have no idea what a Clemson is other than some college with another team
Frankly, I’d rather the university my kids went to and the system for which I taught for about 10ish years would stop all the water leaks in the Library and other buildings. But, silly me, panem et circenses always keeps the desperate masses from revolution or so it’s been said.
Yes. We’re getting a visitation from the orange snot blob that either lies continually, says deluded things continually, and just makes up things of the top of his critter festooned head. He mentioned he’s going to visit his property here to the usual suspects. So, look to the left and see exactly how realistic, possible, and plausible said visitation would be.
Most of the outstate Yahoos from here included the folks that put into office do not care that he lies and some of them–Yes Senator John Kennedy I’m looking at you–just repeat the lies with a faux hillbilly vibe.
Even more startling than the sheer number of POTUS lies is how brazen many of them have been. Dig deeper into this political phenomenon and something odd and counterintuitive emerges: Many people know that Trump is lying to them and simply don’t care. This raises a fascinating question: Could the president extricate himself from the Ukraine quid-pro-quo scandal, the linchpin of the current impeachment proceedings, by spewing one lie after another?
According to the academic paperProcessing Political Misinformation: Comprehending the Trump Phenomenon, the answer is yes. Conducted prior to the 2016 presidential election, the study focuses on credibility experiments. Subjects were asked to rate their belief in eight statements (four true, four false) that Trump made during his campaign. Some were attributed to him: “Donald Trump said that vaccines cause autism.” Others had no attribution: “Vaccines cause autism.” Then came the fact checks. After false items were corrected and true items confirmed, the test subjects rerated the statements.
One of the findings confirmed what every FOX and MSNBC pundit already knows. When subjects first rated the veracity of true and false statements, Republican supporters of Trump believed the claim more when it was attributed to Trump; the opposite was true of Democrats. Republicans who were not pro Trump also believed less in statements attributed to him (but not to the same degree as Democrats), while their belief in the false statements was not influenced by attribution.
The other key finding is less obvious. There was a large bipartisan shift in belief after the fact check, suggesting that both conservatives and liberals can change their minds if they’re presented with convincing, unbiased information. But there was a catch: After a one-week delay, subjects partially “rebelieved” the false statements and partially forgot that factual information was true. Or, to quote the study: “Even if individuals update their beliefs temporarily, explanations regarding both fact and fiction seemingly have an expiration date.”
So, I’m not the psychologist on the blog so I have no idea what makes him lie so much. I do know that I have never in my life seen any one even near this level of bull shit swinging and my dad had a car dealership and used car salesmen in his employ. I can’t even imagine the pathology that would create that circumstance but it’s really so disturbing in needs a new term because pathological lying just doesn’t sound enough for how he manages to nuclearize obvious whoppers.
So, there are lies and then there are lies that cover up things that every one country needs to realize are dangerous lies. This headline and story from NBC: “Trump authorized Soleimani’s killing 7 months ago, with conditions.” So, we know the entire story of four embassies under imminent danger is basically a Lie of Mass Destruction and now we have more and more evidence thanks to Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube.
President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.
The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.
That decision explains why assassinating Soleimani was on the menu of options that the military presented to Trump two weeks ago for responding to an attack by Iranian proxies in Iraq, in which a U.S. contractor was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded, the officials said.
The timing, however, could undermine the Trump administration’s stated justification for ordering the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3. Officials have said Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, was planning imminent attacks on Americans and had to be stopped.
“There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time,” a senior administration official said, adding that it was “some time ago” that the president’s aides put assassinating Soleimani on the list of potential responses to Iranian aggression.
After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
But Trump rejected the idea, saying he’d take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president’s message was “that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,” according to a person briefed on the discussion.
Not even his cronies in the cabinet are supporting the stories he’s telling his cult in the Hatefests or to Hate Monger Laura Ingraham on Faux News (via WAPO).
In an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, excerpts of which were released Friday afternoon, Trump expanded on comments from a day earlier, when he initially told reporters that Soleimani’s forces “were looking to blow up our embassy” in Baghdad. He later said at a rally in Toledo that “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad.”
Mike Esper did not carry water for the Liar-in-Chief yesterday on Face the Nation (via Raw Story). Pompeo is still on the End Times Juice and is hanging in there with each shifting explanation
President Trump has claimed that Soleimani was plotting to “blow up” the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as well as “four” other embassies, but according to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper speaking to CBS News, the claim of four embassies being targeted wasn’t based on an intelligence analysis; it was just something Trump “believed” to be true.
Esper confirmed that there was intelligence to support the claim that Soleimani was targeting the embassy in Baghdad and that intelligence was “shared with the Gang of Eight, not the broader membership of the Congress” — a claim that was somewhat contradicted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told NBC News that the information was indeed shared with Congress. According to Blake, therein lies the contradiction.
“…Esper now says he hasn’t seen intelligence on the threat to multiple embassies, whereas Pompeo said the ‘specific information’ about imminent threats included threats to those embassies,” Blake writes, adding that “even if we’re to accept that Pompeo was speaking loosely and the intelligence was really just about the one U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Esper said that information wasn’t shared with ‘the broader membership of the Congress,’ but only with the Gang of Eight. Pompeo, in contrast, said ‘we did’ when asked if the information about attacks on embassies was shared in that wider briefing. He later deflected when asked to re-confirm, but he did confirm.”
I remembered Jeremy Scahill–writing for The Intercept--on the connections between Trump, Erick Prince, and ignorance and then a developing obsession on Suleimani. He’s updated that information and this was his headline on January 3: “WITH SULEIMANI ASSASSINATION, TRUMP IS DOING THE BIDDING OF WASHINGTON’S MOST VILE CABAL”.
On August 3, 2016 — just three months before Donald Trump would win the Electoral College vote and ascend to power — Blackwater founder Erik Prince arranged a meeting at Trump Tower. For decades, Prince had been agitating for a war with Iran and, as early as 2010, had developed a fantastical proposal for using mercenaries to wage it.
At this meeting was George Nader, an American citizen who had a long history of being a quiet emissary for the United States in the Middle East. Nader, who had also worked for Blackwater and Prince, was a convicted pedophile in the Czech Republic and is facing similar allegations in the United States. Nader worked as an adviser for the Emirati royals and has close ties to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.
There was also an Israeli at the Trump Tower meeting: Joel Zamel. He was there supposedly pitching a multimillion-dollar social media manipulation campaign to the Trump team. Zamel’s company, Psy-Group, boasts of employing former Israeli intelligence operatives. Nader and Zamel were joined by Donald Trump Jr. According to the New York Times, the purpose of the meeting was “primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months, past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office.”
One major common goal ran through the agendas of all the participants in this Trump Tower meeting: regime change in Iran. Trump campaigned on belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment. After appointing notorious warmonger John Bolton as national security adviser, Trump fired him last September. But despite reports that Trump had soured on Bolton because of his interventionist posture toward Iran, Bolton’s firing merely opened the door for the equally belligerent Mike Pompeo to take over the administration’s Iran policy at the State Department. Now Pompeo is the public face of the Suleimani assassination, while for his part, the fired Bolton didn’t want to be left out of the gruesome victory lap:
CNN picked up the Blackwater Back Channel. This is a good summary from Raw story on the connection between the assassination and Erik Prince. Again, the last attack by a Hezbollah proxy killed now American Soldiers but took out a “contractor”. American soldiers were injured but not killed.
So, did we do this because of Erik Prince? John Bolton? Mike Pompeo? Who pushed the dementia-addled Dotard to do this outsized attack at mar a lago?
New details continue to emerge about Donald Trump ordering the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
“Erik Prince, the Blackwater-founder-turned-unofficial-2016-Trump-campaign-adviser, advocated to the campaign years ago for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, according to a recently disclosed memo that reveals some of the earliest thinking circulated within Donald Trump’s team regarding his approach to Iran,” CNN reported Saturday.
President Donald Trump told associates that he assassinated Iran’s top military leader last week in part to appease Republican senators who’ll play a crucial role in his Senate impeachment trial, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
In a lengthy piece detailing how the president’s top advisers coalesced behind the strike on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, The Journal reported that Trump had told associates he felt pressured to satisfy senators who were pushing for stronger US action against Soleimani and who will run defense for him on impeachment.
One of Trump’s most outspoken supporters, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, appears to be the only congressional lawmaker Trump briefed about his plan to assassinate Soleimani in the days leading up to the strike.
“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida,” Graham told Fox News. “I appreciate being brought into the orbit.”
The South Carolina Republican, an Iran hawk, celebrated the controversial strike, which the administration did not seek congressional authorization to carry out. After Iran retaliated by hitting US-occupied Iraqi bases on Tuesday, Graham called the move “an act of war.”
The other shocking part of the Ingraham interview was this via Crooks and Liars: “Trump Blasted For Bragging About ‘Selling’ American Troops To Saudi Arabia And S. Korea. ” Trump boasted to Fox’s Laura Ingraham during an interview last Friday that Saudi Arabia deposited a billion dollars “in the bank” for US troops being sent, and that South Korea is paying $500 million for troops as well. So is this boast a truth, dare, or lie?
Attacking Nancy Pelosi and making up more threats to our embassies out of whole cloth weren’t the only crazy things to come out of Trump’s mouth during his softball interview with Fox’s Laura Ingraham Friday night. Trump also told Ingraham that both Saudi Arabia and South Korea have deposited money into a “bank account” in exchange for more U.S. troops. Who this supposed “bank account” belongs to, he did not say.
Trump was rightfully taken to task on Twitter for the exchange by former Republican Rep. Justin Amash and others, who went after Trump for treating our troops like mercenaries, and would like to know, as I would, just where this money he’s talking about was deposited.
Conservative Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) accused Donald Trump Saturday of “selling” American troops to Saudi Arabia after the president boasted that the nation has deposited $1 billion into a bank he did not identify for “more troops.”
“He sells troops,” Amash tersely noted in a tweet.
Other critics erupted on Twitter over a possible future in which U.S. soldiers could be sent as mercenaries to any high-bidding country to risk their lives, regardless of a nation’s ideology or rationale for fighting.
Others argued the country doesn’t deserve American support because of Saudi Arabia’s link to the vicious dismemberment and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was writing at the time for The Washington Post. Some pointed out that most of the hijackers in the 9/11 attack were Saudis.
And some wondered exactly where the Saudi $1 billion is.
Trump clearly saw nothing wrong with the idea. “Listen, you’re a very rich country,” he told Saudi officials, Trump recounted on Fox News. “You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank.”
So, did the US take oil from Syria thereby committing a war crime and did he send US troops as mercenaries to South Korea and Saudi Arabia as mercenaries? Inquiring minds want to know
Just one last item and it’s not related to the Lying Scumbag occupying the Oval Office. Corey Booker has pulled out of the 2020 Presidential Race leaving former Mass. Governor Deval Patrick as the only black candidate in the race. We clearly need a change in the way we elect president because it is truly odd that a party with a diverse base can only come up with a slate of mostly white senior citizens which is all the Republicans provide and work hard to ensure.
Mike Berbenes of Yahoo News asks this question: “Do Democrats have a diversity problem?” Why is it that everyone thinks the safest way to get Trump out of the White House is to sic a white man on him?
Many on the left have expressed concern that an all-white top tier of the Democratic field might alienate voters of color that the eventual nominee will need to defeat Donald Trump in the general election. One of the key reasons Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 was a decline in black voter turnout. Others have argued that the party has a duty to represent its base so issues that matter to the various racial and ideological constituencies are heard.
Castro echoed a popular sentiment among liberals in blaming the primary process for the lack of diversity in the field. Having the predominantly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire vote first, he argued, puts minority candidates at a disadvantage. Part of the criteria for debate qualification is how many donors a candidate has — which some argue disadvantages minority voters who are less likely to have disposable income.
Some analysts say the lack of minority representation in the Democratic field isn’t as big of a problem as it may seem. The top of the field is actually historically diverse if you look beyond race, some argue, with a woman, a Jewish man and a gay man among the top three candidates. There’s also a significant chance that the nominee will choose a person of color as their running mate.
Others have argued that it’s reductive to think black and Latino voters would only be excited about candidates of their own race. Part of the reason Castro, Harris and Booker have struggled is because the demographics they represent have given steady support to white candidates. Joe Biden has a strong advantage among black voters, and Bernie Sanders has been the top choice of Latinos.
Yeah, right. I forgot. Everything is Hillary’s fault.
So, we have a debate on Tuesday Night, impeachment articles are heading to the Senate, and I’m tired of being bullied and gaslighted by what’s supposed to pass as a leader in the USA. I’m as confused as any one on this slate of candidates including the sudden interest in Steyer. This NPR article kinda sums it up for me the kid who grew up in Iowa. The debate will be at Drake University which is my sister’s Alma mater.
Without Yang or Booker (who failed to qualify for the debate and suspended his campaign on Monday), the debate will not have even one person of color.
Those who remain will, as always, strive to differentiate themselves from each other while proving they have what it takes to defeat President Trump in November. Iowans will have their chance to weigh in on that question in three weeks during the party’s precinct-level caucuses on Feb. 3.
And that suggests something else that may seem missing Tuesday night: a clear favorite. The well-respected Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll now has Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont leading in Iowa, but the average of polls nationwide and in other early voting states still shows a modest preference for former Vice President Joe Biden.
At this point, it is possible to imagine either emerging from the early voting states as a bona fide front-runner in time for Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states will vote, including delegate-rich California and Texas.
But it is also possible to imagine neither of them doing so, and thus to imagine Super Tuesday as a hodgepodge of conflicting results.
What’s on you reading and blogging list tonight?
Just dial #STOMPER!
Innit about time we had a #tRumper hotline?
At least there is this bit of news:
This as well:
And then there is this story on a train:
This is an open thread.
Good morning, when I started writing this post, I had no idea about the new battlefields in Iraq.
So…some of the cartoons may be a little, dated. Here’s to WWIII
What the fuck is wrong with these people? “Holy Hell?”
As if all that wasn’t bad enough,
Lastly, a bit down under:
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Among the many apocalyptic scenes from the Australian bush fires has been the presence of explosive, towering clouds appearing in the skies above the fire zones of southeastern Australia. These clouds are fire-generated thunderstorms. Their presence is an indication that a fire is exhibiting extreme behavior, such as spreading quickly beyond containment lines, switching its direction of movement, and even whipping up fire whirls and full-fledged fire tornadoes. The fires have been so intense that they’ve lofted smoke particles all the way into the stratosphere, in part through the clouds that in some cases look more like explosions. Once in the stratosphere, which is the layer of the atmosphere above where most weather occurs, in the troposphere, these particles can travel thousands of miles and even influence regional and global climate. Read more by clicking the link in our bio.
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My illustration for the Australian bushfires. I can’t seem to find any more words that haven’t already been said, there’s only sorrow and tragedy. I pray for Australia, the people, and wildlife…🙏🇦🇺 #saveaustralia#pen#watercolor#penart#watercolorart 🖤 Edit: I’m so incredibly humbled by the overwhelming response to my illustration. Thank you all for the tremendous support! I thought I would try to help any way I can by providing some links to organisations/volunteer work to donate to, on my Facebook page. Link to my Facebook is on my bio. Any donation big or small can go a long way to help!❤️#helpaustralia 🚫Work is copyrighted
This is an open thread.
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I miss my Dad every day. I miss talking to him and the way he used to call out baseball games to me in his last days including the little league championship. He was many things but perhaps more than any thing he was defined by his service in the Army Air Corps during World War 2 where he flew missions that sped the Allies movement on the ground to Berlin and Victory and freed the French and Belgian people from German Occupation.
He never spoke about it much but when he did the stories were fascinating. My favorite was when his squad flew under Jimmy Stewart and he described how that rich voice filled the com. He had a picture of his crew that he kept by his favorite reading chair along with family pictures. He would always tell me that the solider that took that picture never came back the day after he took the photo from a mission that was particularly harrowing. The unstated truth was that Dad’s bomber and crew were fortunate to get back to England.
I suppose it’s only fitting that we are seeing the last of the so-called “greatest generation” during every patriotic event. They are aging and dying as is the fate of all humans. The dynamics of the 20th century ended with a world order established by the dynamics of both World Wars but definitely the War against Fascism. It’s odd that I always thought so much of what was dubbed the American Century would last through at least my lifetime if not my children with modifications and improvements. I still figured that the US would be firmly planted as the standard bearer as more joined those ranks. As of this weekend, I no longer believe this to be the case.
We currently have no standards to bear under the Trumpist regime and I now believe that we have fallen beyond any grace we may have earned during the American Century. The world forgave us many sins from Vietnam to even the disastrous invasion of Iraq. They may have actually had some hope for us as we signed with other nations agreements to trade, address climate change, and work with Iran to find a more stable situation with less fear of nukes.
We have lost whatever grace we earned now because we have allowed a group of aggrieved white nationalists with a twisted version of Christianity to grab power. They brought us Trump. They plotted and planned a cleansing of the Republican Party who rolled over with belly up to get their votes for policies supporting the rich and greedy. Establishment appeasement failed and now End Timers and White Nationalists have that party wholesale.
As we lose our grip on world leadership, I can only hope that its future hands are not those of Russia and China although Chinese dominance of the global economy will only grow and the multilateral agreement to keep that in check was also one of the things Trump tossed out even though it was the product of a few administrations and not solely that of Obama’s. Just as we left so many nuclear pacts, we have also left the Paris Accord and Australia is burning with no aid from us. It is likely a harbinger to what may happen in California and other of our southwestern states.
I had this realization last night as some of the inevitable things happened as a result of Trump’s desperation to become a war time president to possibly boost his re-election chances and his ego during impeachment. We–as a nation–must find a new way eventually but one that will not put us as a shining city on the hill. Let us hope we will not stay firmly in pariah nation status. I do know this. A country should NEVER put into power a group of people whose vision of redemption and heaven includes the end of the world. Iran chose that path 40 years ago. We have joined them in that same messianic, deluded vision and Fuck Pence and Pompeo and all they stand for.
With those depressing thoughts on my mind, let’s get to my suggested reads. My Thanks to author Rabih Aalameddine (@rabinhalameddine) whose tweets those morning provided these hellish versions of war and fire.
No one knows what’s coming next. However, every one that’s every had anything to do with the markets the last four decades knows that when these things happen it will leader to higher oil prices and stock prices for defense firms. Everything else will head downwards. This is from Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance.
Oil extended its gains, briefly surpassing $70 a barrel in London for the first time since September, as Middle East tensions flared after the U.S. assassinated one of Iran’s most powerful generals.
Futures rose as much as 3.1% on Monday as the U.S. State Department warned of a “heightened risk” of missile attacks near energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Prices later gave up some of the gains. President Donald Trump reiterated threats of retaliation should Iran “do anything” and vowed heavy sanctions against Iraq if American troops are forced to leave OPEC’s second-biggest producer.
The clash is fanning fears that a wider conflict could disrupt supply from the region, which provides almost a third of the world’s oil. Prices haven’t hit these levels since an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in September — which the U.S. blamed on Iran — briefly halted about 5% of global output.
“Crude has some more risk pricing to do,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group in Bethesda, Maryland, and former White House oil official under President George W. Bush. “We are going to grind through the $70s up toward $80 Brent as Iran calibrates and executes its retaliation.”
As I just said, fuck Pompeo. a chief messianic delusionism advocate and all around horrid person. This is from WAPO: “Killing of Soleimani follows long push from Pompeo for aggressive action against Iran, but airstrike brings serious risks”.
The greenlighting of the airstrike near Baghdad airport represents a bureaucratic victory for Pompeo, but it also carries multiple serious risks: another protracted regional war in the Middle East; retaliatory assassinations of U.S. personnel stationed around the world; an interruption in the battle against the Islamic State; the closure of diplomatic pathways to containing Iran’s nuclear program; and a major backlash in Iraq, whose parliament voted on Sunday to expel all U.S. troops from the country.
For Pompeo, whose political ambitions are a source of constant speculation, the death of U.S. diplomats would be particularly damaging given his unyielding criticisms of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton following the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and other American personnel in Benghazi in 2012.
One significant factor was the “lockstep” coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.
So, the push to assassinate an Irani general. was made by two proponents of heaven comes if we blow up the right people and then the world and a former Defense Lobbyist. Isn’t that just ducky? So, in game theory, we frequently speak of second and third order conditions which basically occur in a game that occurs over time when one party makes a move and then there are more moves to come. “Stategery” was never a strong point for any of the Neocons who just wanted to “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”. It continues to look the same way with the Trumpists. This is from Axios that is part of the media trying to chase the next moves that have so far included expulsion of US and allied troops from Iraq and Iran annoucing it will take revenge and it will ended its nuclear pause.
The Trump administration tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade top Iraqi officials to kill a parliamentary effort to force the U.S. military out of Iraq, according to two U.S. officials and an Iraqi government official familiar with the situation.
Why it matters: The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution today calling on the Iraqi government to expel U.S. troops from Iraq, after the U.S killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a leader of an Iraqi militia with a drone strike near Baghdad airport.
- This resolution could ultimately lead to the U.S. military being forced out of Iraq. But the outcome remains uncertain, and the prime minister who needs to sign it recently resigned.
“I think it would be inconvenient for us, but it would be catastrophic for Iraq,” said a U.S. official familiar with the Trump administration’s effort to block the vote. “It’s our concern that Iraq would take a short-term decision that would have catastrophic long-term implications for the country and its security.”
- “But it’s also, what would happen to them financially,” the official added, “if they allowed Iran to take advantage of their economy to such an extent that they would fall under the sanctions that are on Iran?” (Countries can be subject to the sanctions if they engage in certain kinds of trade with Iran.)
- “We don’t want to see that. We’re trying very hard to work to have that not happen,” the official said.
“The United States is disappointed by the action taken today in the Iraqi Council of Representatives,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
The NYT has more information on the Iranian decision to ends its participation in Nuclear Restrictions.
When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, he justified his unilateral action by saying the accord was flawed, in part because the major restrictions on Iran ended after 15 years, when Tehran would be free to produce as much nuclear fuel as it wanted.
But now, instead of buckling to American pressure, Iran declared on Sunday that those restrictions are over — a decade ahead of schedule. Mr. Trump’s gambit has effectively backfired.
Iran’s announcement essentially sounded the death knell of the 2015 nuclear agreement. And it largely re-creates conditions that led Israel and the United States to consider destroying Iran’s facilities a decade ago, again bringing them closer to the potential of open conflict with Tehran that was avoided by the accord.
Iran did stop short of abandoning the entire deal on Sunday, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and its foreign minister held open the possibility that his nation would return to its provisions in the future — if Mr. Trump reversed course and lifted the sanctions he has imposed since withdrawing from the accord.
That, at least, appeared to hold open the possibility of a diplomatic off-ramp to the major escalation in hostilities since the United States killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the second most powerful official in Iran and head of the Quds Force.
But some leading experts declared that the effort to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions through diplomacy was over. “It’s finished,” David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said in an interview. “If there’s no limitation on production, then there is no deal.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced an initiative to address the Authorization of Use of the Military or the so-called War Powers Act today. This is from the Speaker’s web page.
Last week, the Trump Administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials. This action endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.
As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe. For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the Constitution.
This week, the House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran. This resolution is similar to the resolution introduced by Senator Tim Kaine in the Senate. It reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days.
The House Resolution will be led by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. Congresswoman Slotkin is a former CIA and Department of Defense analyst specializing in Shia militias. She served multiple tours in the region under both Democratic and Republican Administrations.
Here’s some news on the responses from Congress at NBC News: “Pelosi announces war powers resolution as tensions with Iran escalate. Pelosi said “the Trump administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials.”
On Sunday, Iraq’s Parliament voted to ask its government to end the presence of U.S. troops in the country, while Iranian state TV reported that Iran will no longer abide by any limits of the 2015 nuclear deal — an agreement Trump withdrew from in 2018.
In the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, D-N.J., wrote to Trump asking him to “immediately declassify in full the January 4, 2020, war powers notification you submitted to Congress following the U.S. military operation targeting” Soleimani.
“It is critical that national security matters of such import be shared with the American people in a timely manner,” the senators wrote. “An entirely classified notification is simply not appropriate in a democratic society, and there appears to be no legitimate justification for classifying this notification.”
Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said members of Congress “will be briefed, but they should also calm down” and “celebrate” Soleimani’s death.
She said it was “fine” for Trump to order an airstrike killing Soleimani without congressional authority, comparing it to former President Barack Obama ordering the mission to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
There’s some news from the Democratic Primary Front. Former Candidate Julian Castro has endorsed Elizabeth Warren.
Mr. Castro announced his endorsement on Monday morning, just days after he ended his own bid for the White House. In a statement, Mr. Castro cast Ms. Warren as the logical extension of his campaign’s social-justice-driven message, which seeks to correct inequities through targeted policy proposals. He will campaign with Ms. Warren this week, joining her Tuesday night at a rally at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.
David Leonhardt argues that Amy Klobucher is the candidate that can beat Trump. He likens her to Harry Truman of all people.
So where are you supposed to find a comfortably electable, qualified candidate who won’t turn 80 while in office?
Senator Amy Klobuchar has become an answer to that question in the final month before voting begins. She has outlasted more than a dozen other candidates and has two big strengths: A savvy understanding of how to campaign against President Trump and a track record of winning the sorts of swing voters Democrats will likely need this year.
Klobuchar, to be sure, is not a finished product as a presidential candidate. Too often, she sounds like a senator speaking in legislative to-do lists rather than a future president who can inspire voters. That tendency — along with too much needling of other candidates, instead of focusing on her own message — was evident in the most recent debate.
Yet she still emerged as one of the debate’s winners, and she is enjoying a burst of new attention. She raised more than twice as much money, $11.4 million, in the fourth quarter of 2019 than the third quarter. When I ask top Democrats which candidate has the best chance of beating Trump, Klobuchar is often their answer. If party leaders still chose nominees, she might now be the favorite.
In that way, she reminds me of another Midwestern senator who once seemed too ordinary to be president: Harry Truman. In the summer of 1944, an even more perilous time for global democracy than now, Democratic Party grandees chose Truman as vice president with the belief that he would soon be president, given Franklin Roosevelt’s declining health.
Truman was (as Klobuchar is) a loyal Democrat with populist leanings whom many Republicans, both senators and voters, nonetheless felt some affection for. He had a folksy manner and heartland accent. He was also a long shot for the nomination when the process began. The analogy extends to Klobuchar’s best-known weakness: Truman had a temper, too.
And it’s epiphany, you may now eat king cake!!!
I’m haunted by dreams of fire and animals. It’s been three nights in a row now and the horror of Australia is getting to me. Here are some suggestions on where you can donate funds if you feel so inclined and you are able.
And now, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?