Happy Valentine’s Day, Sky Dancers!!
Andrew McCabe’s book The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump will be released on Tuesday, and he will be interviewed on 60 Minutes on Sunday night. This might be one 60 Minutes I decide to watch.
McCabe was deputy director of the FBI under James Comey and he became acting director after Trump fired Comey. Trump attacked McCabe repeatedly, and eventually succeeded in driving him out of office. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe one day before he could have retired with his full pension.
Today The Atlantic published an article adapted from McCabe’s book: Every Day Is a New Low in Trump’s White House.
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, my first full day on the job as acting director of the FBI, I sat down with senior staff involved in the Russia case—the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. As the meeting began, my secretary relayed a message that the White House was calling. The president himself was on the line. I had spoken with him the night before, in the Oval Office, when he told me he had fired James Comey.
A call like this was highly unusual. Presidents do not, typically, call FBI directors. There should be no direct contact between the president and the director, except for national-security purposes. The reason is simple. Investigations and prosecutions need to be pursued without a hint of suspicion that someone who wields power has put a thumb on the scale.
The Russia team was in my office. I took the call on an unclassified line. That was another strange thing—the president was calling on a phone that was not secure. The voice on the other end said, It’s Don Trump calling. I said, Hello, Mr. President, how are you? Apart from my surprise that he was calling at all, I was surprised that he referred to himself as “Don.”
The president said, I’m good. You know—boy, it’s incredible, it’s such a great thing, people are really happy about the fact that the director’s gone, and it’s just remarkable what people are saying. Have you seen that? Are you seeing that, too?
He went on: I received hundreds of messages from FBI people—how happy they are that I fired him. There are people saying things on the media, have you seen that? What’s it like there in the building?
McCabe describes the reaction of FBI employees as one of shock and dismay. Trump then said he wanted to come to the FBI and “show all my FBI people how much I love them.” McCabe thought that was a terrible idea, but agreed to meet with Trump about it. Next, Trump:
…began to talk about how upset he was that Comey had flown home on his government plane from Los Angeles—Comey had been giving a speech there when he learned he was fired. The president wanted to know how that had happened.
I told him that bureau lawyers had assured me there was no legal issue with Comey coming home on the plane. I decided that he should do so. The existing threat assessment indicated he was still at risk, so he needed a protection detail. Since the members of the protection detail would all be coming home, it made sense to bring everybody back on the same plane they had used to fly out there. It was coming back anyway. The president flew off the handle: That’s not right! I don’t approve of that! That’s wrong! He reiterated his point five or seven times.
I said, I’m sorry that you disagree, sir. But it was my decision, and that’s how I decided. The president said, I want you to look into that! I thought to myself: What am I going to look into? I just told you I made that decision.
The ranting against Comey spiraled. I waited until he had talked himself out.
After that Trump taunted McCabe about his wife’s losing campaign for the Virginia Senate, asking McCabe, “How did she handle losing? Is it tough to lose?” and later saying “Yeah, that must’ve been really tough. To lose. To be a loser.”
I once had a boss who was a monstrous whack job like Trump. It was crazy-making. The entire department under this man functioned like an alcoholic family with an unpredictable, out-of-control father. You never knew what horrible thing would happen next. It was total chaos, as the White House seems to be. I’m glad McCabe is telling the truth about what he experienced.
Two more articles based on the McCabe book:
CBS News 60 Minutes: McCabe Says He Ordered the Obstruction of Justice Probe of President Trump.
The New York Times: McCabe Says Justice Officials Discussed Recruiting Cabinet Members to Push Trump Out of Office.
I expect Trump will be ranting about McCabe on Twitter and in the Oval Office, but he can’t do anything to shut McCabe up anymore.
Soon we’ll have a new U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, and already the corruption surrounding him has a very bad odor. CNN reports that Barr’s daughter and son-in-law are leaving the Justice Department for new jobs at FinCEN and the White House Counsel’s office respectively.
Mary Daly, Barr’s oldest daughter and the director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention Efforts in the deputy attorney general’s office, is leaving for a position at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit, a Justice official said.
Tyler McGaughey, the husband of Barr’s youngest daughter, has been detailed from the powerful US attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, to the White House counsel’s office, two officials said.
It’s not clear if McGaughey’s switch is a result of Barr’s pending new role, and the kind of work he’ll be handling at the White House is not public knowledge.
Daly’s husband will remain in his position in the Justice Department’s National Security Division for now.
The moves were by choice and are not required under federal nepotism laws, but Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, called them “a good idea” to “avoid the bad optics that could come from the appearance of them working for him.”
However, Shaub added that McGaughey’s detail to the White House counsel’s office was “concerning.”
“That’s troubling because it raises further questions about Barr’s independence,” Shaub said.
Read more at the CNN link.
If you listened to Rachel Maddow’s podcast about Spiro Agnew (or even if you didn’t) you should read this op-ed at The Washington Post by three attorneys who were involved in that corruption case: We should demand high standards from William Barr. Spiro Agnew’s case shows why, by Barnet D. Skolnik, Russell T. Baker Jr., and Ronald S. Liebman.
In the winter of 1973, 46 years ago, the three of us were assistant U.S. attorneys in Baltimore starting a federal grand jury investigation of a corrupt Democratic county chief executive in Maryland. That investigation ultimately led to the prosecution of his corrupt Republican predecessor — the man who went on to become the state’s governor and then President Richard M. Nixon’s vice president, Spiro T. Agnew.
On Oct. 10, 1973, Agnew entered a plea to a criminal tax felony for failure to report the hundreds of thousands of dollars he’d received in bribes and kickbacks as county executive, governor and even vice president. All paid in cash, $100 bills delivered in white envelopes.
And he resigned.
From the beginning of our investigation, months before we had seen any indication that he had taken kickbacks, Agnew, along with top White House and administration officials and even Nixon himself, repeatedly tried to impede, obstruct and terminate the investigation in nefarious ways. Some of those efforts were unknown to us then and have come to light only now thanks to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and her “Bagman” podcast.
When newspapers began to report that he was under criminal investigation in the summer of 1973, Agnew aroused his base by screaming “witch hunt” and launching a vicious assault on the “lying” press, the “partisan” Justice Department, and the “biased” and “liberal Democrat” prosecutors in Baltimore.
If Agnew and Nixon had succeeded in derailing our investigation, the most corrupt man ever to sit a heartbeat away might have become the president of our country when Nixon was forced to resign less than a year later. But our investigation was protected — first, by our staunch and courageous boss, the late George Beall, the U.S. attorney for Maryland and a prominent Maryland Republican, and second, by the man who had become the new U.S. attorney general that spring, Elliot L. Richardson.
The authors then go on to explain why Barr should not be confirmed unless he commits to releasing Robert Mueller’s findings to the public. Read the whole thing at the WaPo.
There is so much more news! Here are some links to check out:
Just Security: Who is Richard Burr, Really? Why the public can’t trust his voice in the Russia probe. (This is an incredibly important story. Corruption is all around us.)
The New York Times: House Votes to Halt Aid for Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen.
Gulf News: Trump backer Tom Barrack defends Saudi Arabia.
HuffPost: I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter. (Trigger warning for rape description)
The New York Times: Ryan Adams Dangled Success. Women Say They Paid a Price.
So . . . what stories have you been following?
Last night thug “president” Trump did his ridiculous PT Barnum act with his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to replace Anthony Kennedy. Supposedly, Trump was deciding among about four candidates, but it turns out the fix may have been in all along.
Has any other president made a deal with a Supreme Court Justice to appoint a chosen replacement?
After Justice Anthony Kennedy told President Donald Trump he would relinquish his seat on the Supreme Court, the president emerged from his private meeting with the retiring jurist focused on one candidate to name as his successor: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Kennedy’s former law clerk….
So even as Trump dispatched his top lawyers to comb though Kavanaugh’s rulings and quizzed allies about whether he was too close to the Bush family, potentially a fatal flaw, the president was always leaning toward accepting Kennedy’s partiality for Kavanaugh while preserving the secret until his formal announcement, sources with knowledge of his thinking told POLITICO.
I’m sure we’ll be learning more about this, and I hope Democrats respond aggressively.
Basic background on Kavenaugh
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick is no stranger to partisan politics: Before becoming a judge, he was helping make the case for the impeachment of Bill Clinton and later for the election of George W. Bush.
Twenty years ago, Kavanaugh’s story starts amid the highly politicized independent counsel investigation into Clinton. He worked for Starr as a young Yale Law graduate, first when Kenneth Starr was solicitor general and later in the Office of the Independent Counsel, where Kavanaugh was a key player in the slew of investigations into the Clintons, including the Whitewater scandal, the suicide of White House counsel Vincent Foster and Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The Starr Report to Congress laid out the details of Clinton and Lewinsky’s affair and findings of potential wrongdoing by the president. Kavanaugh was the primary author of the section on the grounds for possible impeachment, Starr would reportedly later say,because “that needed to be very carefully crafted, so I was looking to one of the office’s most talented lawyers — of superb and balanced judgment — to take the lead in drafting.” [….]
He was a member of the GOP legal team fighting to stop the recount in Florida to clear the way for Bush’s election against Al Gore in 2000, later taking a job in the Bush White House in 2001, where he’d serve for five years as counsel and later staff secretary until his confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006.
Brett M. Kavanaugh, the federal judge nominated by President Trump on Monday to the Supreme Court, has endorsed robust views of the powers of the president, consistently siding with arguments in favor of broad executive authority during his 12 years on the bench in Washington.
He has called for restructuring the government’s consumer watchdog agency so the president could remove the director and has been a leading defender of the government’s position when it comes to using military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects.
Kavanaugh is “an unrelenting, unapologetic defender of presidential power” who believes courts can and should actively seek to rein in “large swaths of the current administrative state,” said University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck, who closely follows the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Kavanaugh’s record suggests that if he is confirmed, he would be more to the right than the man he would replace, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, for whom he clerked. Kavanaugh has staked out conservative positions in cases involving gun rights, abortion and the separation of powers.
Read more details at both of those links.
What Kavanaugh Would Likely Do on the Court
Kavanaugh is an obvious choice for Trump. A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, he has maintained staunchly conservative credentials without earning a reputation for being a bomb-thrower. Unless Republican Sen. Susan Collins grows a spine, which she won’t, he has a clear path to Senate confirmation. During his hearings, Kavanaugh will claim he cannot reveal his true feelings about Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion access. But there is little doubt that Kavanaugh will gut Roe at the first opportunity. Indeed, he has already provided a road map that shows precisely how he’ll do it.
Kavanaugh was forced to confront the abortion question in 2017 after the Trump administration barred an undocumented minor, known as Jane Doe, from terminating an unwanted pregnancy. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on Doe’s behalf, and the dispute came before a three-judge panel at the D.C. Circuit. Kavanaugh was joined on the panel by Judge Karen L. Henderson, an arch-conservative, and Judge Patricia Millett, a moderate liberal. Doe, who was being held in a federally funded Texas shelter, had already obtained the necessary judicial bypass to get an abortion. But the Trump administration refused to let her see an abortion provider, instead sending her to an anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy center.”
By that point, Doe would be about 18 weeks pregnant. Texas bans abortion after 20 weeks, and the procedure becomes more dangerous as the pregnancy advances. Moreover, the process of finding and verifying a sponsor for an undocumented minor frequently takes weeks or months. And Doe’s lawyers had already searched for a possible sponsor, to no avail. Kavanaugh’s ostensible compromise, then, was nothing of the sort. At best, it would force Doe to suffer through her unwanted pregnancy for at least two more weeks, increasing the odds of complications when she was finally able to obtain an abortion. At worst, it meant the government could run down the clock to the point that an abortion would become illegal.
Luckily for Doe, the full D.C. Circuit swiftly reversed Kavanaugh’s decision and allowed her to terminate her pregnancy, which she did. This move prompted Kavanaugh to write a bitter dissent explaining why the government’s bar on Doe’s abortion was not, in fact, an undue burden.
Read the rest at Slate.
When President Trump Monday nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, he probably doomed the right to abortion, same-sex marriage, and maybe even contraception….
…while Kavanaugh’s record on women’s and LGBT rights is sparse, it gives good reason to suspect that he could be the swing vote to strike down Roe v. Wade, the abortion-rights case. This, after all, is what Trump promised in 2016: that Roe would be “automatically” be overturned should he be elected. And Kavanaugh has been praised by numerous right-wing organizations.
In the case of Garza v. Hargan, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that an undocumented teenage immigrant was entitled to obtain an abortion without having to obtain familial consent (as is required in several states).
Kavanaugh vigorously dissented, asking, “Is it really absurd for the United States to think that the minor should be transferred to her immigration sponsor ― ordinarily a family member, relative, or friend ― before she makes that decision?”
Those are strong words, endorsing not only parental consent rules but enforcing them in extreme circumstances. If you are looking for signals that a Justice Kavanaugh would limit or overturn Roe, Garza is a giant red flare.
There’s also a possibility that Kavenaugh might not be right wing enough to satisfy some Republicans.
Kavanaugh may not be conservative enough to survive the confirmation process. There is even talk that conservatives might revolt against Kavanaugh, as they did in 2005 against George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers. The reason? Many conservatives wanted Kavanaugh to cast doubt on the teenager’s right to get an abortion at all, which another dissenting judge did.
Legally speaking, that objection is absurd. Not unlike “judicial minimalist” Chief Justice John Roberts, Kavanaugh was discussing the case at issue, not some hypothetical issue. And he was responding to the circuit court’s holding, not writing an essay.
But there’s more. Some conservatives have pointed to dicta in another Kavanaugh opinion, a dissent in Priests for Life v. HHS, a case similar to Hobby Lobby involving the Affordable Care Act’s contraception requirement. While dissenting in favor of the Catholic religious organization objecting to the requirement, Kavanaugh wrote that the “the Government has a compelling interest in facilitating women’s access to contraception” because of a variety of factors, such as “reducing the number of unintended pregnancies would further women’s health, advance women’s personal and professional opportunities, reduce the number of abortions, and help break a cycle of poverty.”
Kavanaugh is writing here about the state’s interest in access to contraception, not whether an individual has a constitutional right to access it. Those are totally different questions. But Kavanaugh’s opinion doesn’t question the constitutional right either, which rests on the same foundations (substantive due process, privacy, family) as the right to obtain an abortion.
This one is a must read–lots of details on Kavenaugh’s record. Head over to The Daily Beast to read the rest.
Read more about Kavenaugh and abortion here:
One more from The New York Times editorial board: There’s So Much You Don’t Know About Brett Kavanaugh. And you probably won’t until it’s too late.
First, the awful lot: Judge Kavanaugh would shift the balance of constitutional jurisprudence to the right, creating a solid right-wing majority on the court possibly until the second half of the 21st century. While the somewhat unpredictable Justice Anthony Kennedy once served as the fulcrum for the court, that role will now go to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., a far more ideological conservative.
Judge Kavanaugh, who sits on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia, has been a fixture in conservative politics and is widely respected by the Republican elite. Before becoming a judge, he clerked for Justice Kennedy and worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, and later in the George W. Bush White House. He successfully portrayed himself in his remarks at the White House as a nice guy who coaches girls in basketball, feeds the homeless and believes in the Constitution.
What Americans can’t know about Judge Kavanaugh: pretty much anything else. That’s thanks to the perversion of the Supreme Court confirmation process, which once provided the Senate and the public with useful information about a potential justice’s views on the Constitution, but which has, ever since the bitter battle over President Ronald Reagan’s failed nomination of Robert Bork in 1987, devolved into a second-rate Samuel Beckett play starring an earnest legal scholar who sits for days at a microphone and labors to sound thoughtful while saying almost nothing.
Read the rest at the NYT.
I know there’s plenty of other news, but this is the biggie for today. Post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread, and try to have a good day despite the horrors all around us.
Thursday Reads: Only One Presidential Candidate Understands The Full Significance of Reproductive RightsPosted: March 31, 2016
The political issue that is most on my mind today is the reactions of the candidates to remarks Donald Trump made on abortion in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews yesterday. You can read the full transcript at The Guardian. An excerpt:
MATTHEWS: If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under law. Should abortion be punished?
TRUMP: Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and Conservative Republicans would say, “yes, they should be punished.”
MATTHEWS: How about you?
TRUMP: I would say that it’s a very serious problem. And it’s a problem that we have to decide on. It’s very hard.
MATTHEWS: But you’re for banning it?
TRUMP: I’m going to say — well, wait. Are you going to say, put them in jail? Are you — is that the (inaudible) you’re talking about?
MATTHEWS: Well, no, I’m asking you because you say you want to ban it. What does that mean?
TRUMP: I would — I am against — I am pro-life, yes.
MATTHEWS: What is ban — how do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?
TRUMP: Well, you know, you will go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places
TRUMP: But you have to ban it
MATTHEWS: You banning, they go to somebody who flunked out of medical school….
Trump begins talking about the Catholic Church’s position, interrogating Matthews on whether he agrees (Matthews is a Catholic).
MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?
TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment
MATTHEWS: For the woman
TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form
MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?
TRUMP: Let me just tell you — I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: Why not
TRUMP: I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.
TRUMP: Because I don’t want to — I frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It’s a very complicated position.
MATTHEWS: But you say, one, that you’re pro-life meaning that you want to ban it
More efforts by Trump to deflect to the fact that Matthews is a Catholic.
MATTHEWS: I’m asking you, what should a woman face if she chooses to have an abortion?
TRUMP: I’m not going to do that.
MATTHEWS: Why not?
TRUMP: I’m not going to play that game.
TRUMP: You have…
MATTHEWS: You said you’re pro-life.
TRUMP: I am pro-life.
MATTHEWS: That means banning abortion
TRUMP: And so is the Catholic Church pro-life.
MATTHEWS: But they don’t control the — this isn’t Spain, the Church doesn’t control the government
TRUMP: What is the punishment under the Catholic Church? What is the…
MATTHEWS: Let me give something from the New Testament, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Don’t ask me about my religion.
TRUMP: No, no…
MATTHEWS: I’m asking you. You want to be president of the United States.
TRUMP: You told me that…
MATTHEWS: You tell me what the law should be.
TRUMP: I have — I have not determined…
MATTHEWS: Just tell me what the law should be. You say you’re pro-life.
TRUMP: I am pro-life.
MATTHEWS: What does that mean
TRUMP: With exceptions. I am pro-life.
I have not determined what the punishment would be.
MATTHEWS: Why not?
TRUMP: Because I haven’t determined it
MATTHEWS: When you decide to be pro-life, you should have thought of it. Because…
TRUMP: No, you could ask anybody who is pro-life…
MATTHEWS: OK, here’s the problem — here’s my problem with this, if you don’t have a punishment for abortion — I don’t believe in it, of course — people are going to find a way to have an abortion.
TRUMP: You don’t believe in what?
MATTHEWS: I don’t believe in punishing anybody for having an abortion
TRUMP: OK, fine. OK, (inaudible)/
MATTHEWS: Of course not. I think it’s a woman’s choice.
TRUMP: So you’re against the teachings of your Church?
MATTHEWS: I have a view — a moral view — but I believe we live in a free country, and I don’t want to live in a country so fascistic that it could stop a person from making that decision.
TRUMP: But then you are…
MATTHEWS: That would be so invasive.
TRUMP: I know but I’ve heard you speaking…
MATTHEWS: So determined of a society that I wouldn’t able — one we are familiar with. And Donald Trump, you wouldn’t be familiar with.
TRUMP: But I’ve heard you speaking so highly about your religion and your Church.
TRUMP: Your Church is very, very strongly as you know, pro-life.
MATTHEWS: I know.
TRUMP: What do you say to your Church?
MATTHEWS: I say, I accept your moral authority. In the United States, the people make the decision, the courts rule on what’s in the Constitution, and we live by that. That’s why I say.
TRUMP: Yes, but you don’t live by it because you don’t accept it. You can’t accept it. You can’t accept it. You can’t accept it.
MATTHEWS: Can we go back to matters of the law and running for president because matters of law, what I’m talking about, and this is the difficult situation you’ve placed yourself in.
By saying you’re pro-life, you mean you want to ban abortion. How do you ban abortion without some kind of sanction? Then you get in that very tricky question of a sanction, a fine on human life which you call murder?
TRUMP: It will have to be determined.
MATTHEWS: A fine, imprisonment for a young woman who finds herself pregnant?
TRUMP: It will have to be determined.
MATTHEWS: What about the guy that gets her pregnant? Is he responsible under the law for these abortions? Or is he not responsible for an abortion?
TRUMP: Well, it hasn’t — it hasn’t — different feelings, different people. I would say no.
MATTHEWS: Well, they’re usually involved.
I applaud Chris Matthews on forcing Trump to demonstrate some of the problems with banning abortion. Trump actually said that we would go back to the time when women had to get illegal abortions, and that they should be punished if they made that choice. But the men who were also involved in the creating unwanted or dangerous pregnancies and in making the decision to end those pregnancies should not be punished.
Matthews could have been talking to any “pro-life” candidate, and if he or she were pushed on the practical results of their policies they might be similarly confused. Because that might mean sending women to jail. As Matthews pointed out, the Church does not control the U.S. government, and candidates who think abortion is a crime should not make decisions about women’s bodies and their choices. These choices are complex and they should be private.
How did the Democratic candidates respond to Trump’s remarks?
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton pounced on Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday on MSNBC that abortion should be banned and women who receive one should should face “some form of punishment,” seeking to tie it the entire GOP field.
Hours later, Trump reversed his initial position — criticized as extreme by both supporters and opponents of abortion rights — saying only the doctors should be held liable.“The Republicans all line up together,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.“Now maybe they aren’t quite as open about it as Donald Trump was earlier today, but they all have the same position,” she said, noting anti-abortion positions taken by both John Kasich and Ted Cruz. “If you make abortion a crime — you make it illegal — then you make women and doctors criminals.”“Why is it, I ask myself, Republicans want limited government, except when it comes to women’s health?” she said.Many Trump’s critics have sought to paint him as hostile to women, and Clinton said she largely agreed with that assessment.
You can watch Clinton’s full interview with Anderson Cooper at the link. I couldn’t find a full interview with Sanders on this other than the one he did with Rachel Maddow. He apparently sent out a tweet calling Trump’s remarks shameful. This is what he told Maddow in a lengthy interview yesterday.
MADDOW: After, uh, the word spread that Donald Trump had made those remarks today about abortion, that a woman needs to be punished, uh, if she seeks an abortion and abortion should be banned, you said today that was shameful.
What is shameful about it?
SANDERS: Well, I think it is — shameful is probably understating that position. First of all, to me, and I think to most Americans, women have the right to control their own bodies and they have the right to make those personal decisions themselves.
But to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension. I — I just — you know, one would say what is in Donald Trump’s mind except we’re tired of saying that?
I don’t know what world this person lives in. So obviously, from my perspective, and if elected president, I will do everybody that I can to allow women to make that choice and have access to clinics all over this country so that if they choose to have an abortion, they will be able to do so.
The idea of punishing a woman, that is just, you know, beyond comprehension.
Maddow tried to press Sanders, asking if Cruz may be even worse on the abortion issue than Trump.
Uh, look, they have nothing to say. All they can appeal is to a small number of people who feel very rabid, very rabid about a particular issue, whether it’s abortion or maybe whether it’s gay marriage. That is their constituency. They have nothing of substance.
You know, you mentioned a moment ago, Rachel, that the media is paying attention to Donald Trump.
No kidding. Once again, every stupid remark will be broadcast, you know, for the next five days.
But what is Donald Trump’s position on raising the minimum wage?
Well, he doesn’t think so.
What is Donald Trump’s position on wages in America?
Well, he said in a Republican debate he thinks wages are too high.
What’s Donald Trump’s position on taxes?
Well, he wants to give billionaire families like himself hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks.
What is Donald Trump’s position on climate change?
Oh, he thinks it’s a hoax perpetrated, shock of all shock, by the Chinese. You know, on and on it goes.
But because media is what media is today, any stupid, absurd remark made by Donald Trump becomes the story of the week. Maybe, just maybe, we might want to have a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America. Donald Trump will not look quite so interesting in that context.
MADDOW: Are you suggesting, though, that the media shouldn’t be focusing on his call to potentially jail women who have abortions? Because that’s another stupid —
SANDERS: I am saying that every day he comes up with another stupid remark, absurd remark, of course it should be mentioned. But so should Trump’s overall positions. How much talk do we hear about climate change, Rachel? And Trump? Any?
I heard that as exactly what Maddow suggested: To Sanders, the issue of women’s reproductive rights is just another “stupid” social issue–nowhere near as important as income inequality, increasing the minimum wage, and the other economic issues that Sanders focuses on.
And here is what Hillary Clinton told Rachel Maddow last night, from Politicus USA.
“What Donald Trump said today was outrageous and dangerous. And you know I am just constantly taken aback by the kinds of things that he advocates for. Maya Angelou said, ‘When someone show you who they are, believe them.’ And once again he has showed us who he is. The idea that he and all of the Republicans espouse that abortion should be illegal is one that is not embraced by the vast majority of Americans. And in fact as he pointed out, if it were illegal, then women and doctors would be criminals.”
“I think not only women, men, but all Americans need to understand that this kind of inflammatory, destructive rhetoric is on the outer edges of what is permitted under our Constitution, what we believe in, and people should reject it.”
“Women in particular must know that this right which we have guaranteed under the Constitution could be taken away, and that’s why the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher.”
Maddow explained that Trump walked it back and then wanted to punish doctors. Clinton made the point that women have the right to their own autonomy. Criminalizing doctors for helping women have medical authority over their own bodies doesn’t make this better.
Maddow said that she spoke with Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s 2016 primary opponent, and that Sanders was critical of Trump’s remark but he also thinks it’s another “Donald Trump stupid” remark that will be covered by the media ad nauseam as opposed to issues like taxes, climate change, minimum wage that might be more deserving of extended attention.
Maddow asked Clinton if she agreed, and Clinton said she doesn’t think the media is making too much of this, “No, absolutely not. I’ve been on the front lines of the fight to preserve a woman’s choice and ability to make these difficult decisions… I’ve been a leader in trying to make sure that our rights as women were not in any way eroded.”
“To think that this is an issue that is not deserving of reaction just demonstrates a lack of appreciation for how serious this is,” Clinton said. “This goes to the heart of who we are as women, what kinds of rights and choices we have, it certainly is as important as any economic issue because when it’s all stripped away so much of the Republican agenda is to turn the clock back on women.”
It is easy for even liberals and progressives to forget that without legal and safe abortion, women die. This is no small issue. This is one of the issues of 2016. It is economic, it is about personal freedom, it is a matter of life and death. Hillary Clinton punches back even when others will not. She sees this issue for what it is.
This is why we need a woman POTUS. This is why we need Hillary. These interviews by Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow represent the first time anyone at a debate or “town hall” has seriously asked candidates to talk about women’s reproductive rights.
Donald Trump showed us why putting a Republican in the White House in 2016 would be dangerous for women.
Bernie Sanders showed us that he “supports” abortion rights, but doesn’t think this issue rises to the importance of his rants on economic issues like income inequality, Wall Street corruption, and the minimum wage. He clearly doesn’t understand that abortion and birth control are also important economic issues.
Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate who understands the important of these so-called “women’s issues.” She is the only one who will speak for women and girls in a serious way if she is elected to the presidency.
What do you think? Please discuss this post or any other topic you wish in the comment thread, and have a terrific Thursday.
We have a variety of links for you today. Typical of an average Sunday…unfortunately, I could not muster up the creativity and string a theme together. So the images will have to do, they are from the website BluntCard.com. (I think some of them are funny…hope you do too.)
Anyway, let’s get this shit rolling.
Sensitized by the grim headlines which daily announce the appalling plight of twentieth-century refugees in eastern Europe, I was motivated to investigate the behavior and conditions of medieval refugees fleeing the Mongols. In reviewing the sources I was struck by the abundance and vividness of the surviving evidence. My original plan was to study the Hungarian situation in comparison with similar experiences of other peoples who had been invaded by the Mongols, then to follow this with a comparative treatment of Hungarian refugees with parallels elsewhere in medieval Europe. This had to be discarded when I learned that the presumed secondary literature on this topic meager and peripheral. The systematic historical study of medieval refugees is yet to be written. The question of what where the experiences of medieval refugees appears seldom to have been raised and even less often answered.
Okay enough on that…up next, a big ass hole: Crater in Russia triples in size in ten months to become 120m wide sinkhole – Asia – World – The Independent
The latest images taken by helicopters shows that earlier reassurance from an expert inspecting the site in April that the hole was “more or less stable” was incorrect, the Siberian Times reports.
The images show the nearby homes are now at risk of collapsing into the hole but local officials have said that no one is in physical danger.
The hole was caused by flood erosion in a underground mine…maybe this is what that sinkhole in Louisiana looks like under all that water?
Let’s look at another hole: Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails – BBC News
As Greece careers towards another election later this month, the country’s healthcare system is continuing to crumble.
Funding for state-run hospitals has been cut by more than 50% since the debt crisis started in 2009.
They suffer from severe shortages in everything, from sheets, gauzes and syringes, to doctors and nurses.
Nothing suggests the height of human achievement and economic prowess quite like a skyscraper.
The newly completed 2,073-foot-tall Shanghai Tower is officially the second-tallest building in the world (behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) and the tallest in China.
And taller skyscrapers are planned, such as China’s Sky City and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower.
But as “cool” as all of these buildings are, glitzy construction booms have historically coincided with the beginnings of economic downturns, according to Barclays’ “Skyscraper Index.” (For all you economics wonks out there, basically, skyscrapers can be considered a sentiment indicator.)
Using Barclays’ index, we pulled together 10 skyscrapers whose constructions overlapped with financial crises.
This Francisco Goldman article in The New Yorker is a good run-down of what is going on in Guatemala.Citizens finally came together to stand up to the kleptocracy that has run the country since the end of the civil war of the 80s. Protests have brought down Otto Pérez Molina after already taking out most of his administration. This is a great moment of democratic protest in a nation where political violence has been endemic for a very long time.
…we are in a renaissance of excellent historical writing for a general public that wants to read something more than hagiographic narratives. Add Adam Rothman’s Beyond Freedom’s Reach to the list. Rothman tells the story of Rose Herera, a New Orleans slave whose children were spirited away to Cuba by her master during the Civil War. Centering kidnapping in the slave experience, Rothman takes what could be a fairly slender story based upon a relative paucity of evidence to build a tale of great bravery and persistence within a rapidly changing world where African-Americans had relatively little power even in the immediate aftermath of the war.
An update on a story from a while back….Cops Who Killed Man with Down Syndrome Over a Movie Ticket Blame Paramedics Who Tried to Save Him | Alternet
…the case of Ethan Saylor.
Saylor, a 26-year-old with Down syndrome, was at a movie theater with a health care aide watching “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie had finished, but Ethan didn’t want to leave the theater after the film ended, hoping to watch it again.
The cinema manager, angry that the mentally-handicapped man didn’t quite understand that one ticket is only good for one viewing, called three off-duty-deputies who were moonlighting as security guards. The cops decided to forcibly evict Saylor from the theater, refusing to listen to his aide, who had already contacted Saylor’s mother in an effort to defuse the situation.
Instead, as is all too common the case, the cops got violent, taking Saylor to the ground and piling on top of him as they attempted to handcuff him. In the process, this young man’s trachea was fractured, and he died of asphyxiation.
The autopsy report indicated that Saylor died from asphyxiation, and had sustained a fracture to his larynx, with the coroner listing his cause of death as homicide.
While Saylor’s death was ruled a homicide, an internal “investigation” cleared the three officers, Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, of any wrongdoing. No charges were brought against any of the officers involved in his death.
Much to the dismay of almost everyone involved in the case, a Frederick County grand jury declined to indict the deputies after their review of the case.
After the failure of the state to hold these officers criminally accountable for Saylor death, as is often the case when law enforcement kills a citizen, the family filed a wrongful-death suit against the deputies.
According to a report in The Frederick News Post:
In the initial complaint, filed in October 2013, Saylor’s family alleged violations of his civil rights and of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the state, county sheriff’s deputies and the companies that employed the men as security guards at the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 theater.
A year later, a federal judge dismissed all of the claims against the theater company, and also dismissed a simple negligence claim against the deputies and a wrongful-death claim against the state.
Claims that the deputies — Richard Rochford, Scott Jewell and James Harris — were grossly negligent and that the state failed to train them were allowed to go forward.
While the family is certain that the fractured larynx was a result of the violent altercation, defense attorneys for the cops claimed in their latest court filings that the injuries found on Saylor were from the paramedic’s efforts to save his life, and not their brutal attack.
One of the experts identified by the defense was Dr. Jeffrey Fillmore, the emergency department physician who treated Saylor at Frederick Memorial Hospital. According to court filing by the defense, Fillmore would testify that the autopsy and other evidence are not consistent with asphyxia as the cause of Saylor’s death.
On Tuesday, attorney for Saylor’s family, Joseph Espo, told the AP that his expert witnesses disagree with almost everything in the filing by the deputies’ attorneys. Records indicate that those witnesses include a disabilities expert, a police liabilities expert, a pathologist and another medical doctor.
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this case is the fact that Saylor was an avid fan of law enforcement and was reportedly fascinated by police. Some may argue that the cops did not intend to kill Ethan, but the fact that they couldn’t de-escalate a simple situation over a movie ticket, and instead resorted to deadly violence speaks to the corrupting sickness that is prevalent in policing today.
More crazy in the judicial system:
An explosion of cellphone videos has brought renewed attention to police practices, provoking criticism, indictments and talk of criminal justice overhaul. Courtroom videos of judges in action, however, are far rarer.
But one surreptitious video in a small-town Georgia court has led to an overhaul of court practices there. The video showed the judge threatening to jail traffic violators who could not come up with an immediate payment toward their fines.
On with some reviews of movies that look like something we all would find interesting:
Each September brings severe disappointment for those of us interested in seeing women taken seriously in the Oscar race. And by that, I mean women on screen and behind the scenes. It seems that the conversation for some time has been about important men doing important historical things and changing the world, while the contributions of women were made as wives and assistants. They weren’t the center of the action. It is worth noting that, last year, none of the best-picture nominees had a female protagonist and only one had a female director.
“Suffragette” bursts onto the screen and shows the power and presence of women in history. AND it is written, directed and produced by women. It is a movie that shows us a struggle that few know anything about — the women’s battle for the vote in the UK — but that is resonant today, in this country, because of the assault to voting rights going on right now. It is a reminder that, not too long ago, women had no power, no access to money and were thought to lack the brains to participate in issues related to governance. We still have much to do on the issue of women’s rights. Girls around the world are not being educated because they are girls. Girls are sold into marriage. Women are not allowed to leave their homes in places, women are still raped and assaulted everywhere and we are not paid equally.
I don’t know how to end this post, so just consider it an open thread.
This story of sexism from Great Britain’s soccer elite is an example of how professional women are treated with an utter lack of respect.
We see it with Hillary. We see it with journalists who have the audacity to ask questions of presidential candidates.
Check this out:
To say that sexism exists in soccer is like saying that leaves grow on trees. The average female player’s salary in the United States is about $15,000 per year, while the average for men is $155,000. Considering that women’s sports generally have a smaller audience, that gap can make sense. But given the numbers from July 5, it’s harder to make that case. And unfortunately, the inequalities don’t stop at salaries.
Consider the unfolding dispute between José Mourinho, manager of the Chelsea club, one of the top teams in Britain’s Premier League, and Eva Carneiro, Chelsea’s first-team doctor and assistant medical director.
The dispute stems from an Aug. 8 match between Chelsea and Swansea. With two minutes to play, Swansea captain Ashley Williams crashed into Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s forward. The referee called a foul on Williams and immediately beckoned for the medical team – which included Carneiro and Jon Fearn, the first-team physiotherapist – to enter the pitch and treat Hazard. Unsurprisingly, Fearn dashed onto the field, Carneiro hot on his heels. What was surprising was the reaction of Mourinho, who leapt forward angrily, shouting obscenities and gesturing wildly at his medical staff.
It had been a difficult game. The score was locked 2-2, and there were only 10 players left on Chelsea’s side of the field, since the goalkeeper had been sent off. The moment Fearn and Carneiro stepped on the pitch, the rules dictated that Hazard would have to be taken off.
Mourinho later defended his outburst, stating that the medical team had acted incorrectly in entering the pitch and leaving the team with nine men. “Without a doubt, if you are involved in the game, you have to understand the game,” he said, calling his medical staff “impulsive and naïve.”
In fact, Carneiro has been a part of Chelsea’s first team for four years. Also, with 90 seconds left in the game, and Chelsea poised for a free kick that Hazard was unlikely to have a large role in, Mourinho’s anger was both misplaced and inappropriate. Nevertheless, Carneiro has since been banned from matches or training sessions, as well as entering the team’s hotel.
It turns out, however, that she does understand the game. The Premier League Doctors’ Group released a statement declaring that “a refusal to run onto the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.” Carneiro was beckoned onto the field by the referee. Her response was appropriate, and her punishment does not correspond with the performance of her duties. So the question is, why was she punished?
Carneiro – one of three women on Chelsea’s 13-person medical and fitness staff – is a prime example of what happens when a woman gains a position of power usually reserved for men. Last year, on the sidelines during matches, she faced obscene chants from fans. It seems her gender controls her career. Type her name into YouTube, and the first clip is titled “Eva Carneiro Hot Chelsea Doctor.” It’s just a video of her doing her job.
Considering that Carneiro was only performing her duties in the match against Swansea, Mourinho’s overreaction – especially his claims that she is naïve and ill-informed when he himself didn’t know the rules – clearly demonstrates that some people in authority in the world of soccer are not prepared to treat women equally. It’s bad enough that so few women can attain positions in the sport, but this rash and unfounded demotion indicates that Mourinho does not consider her valuable, despite a positive injury record and years of service to the team.
Mourinho has never apologized for his actions, and even with the League doctors supporting Carneiro…no official action, fines or sanctions were taken against Mourinho. Even though there is an actual rule against the sort of conduct Mourinho exhibited toward Carneiro.
Rule 7 of the Premier League’s Code of Conduct for managers states: “A manager shall not make public any unfair criticism of any match official or any other manager or any player, official or employee of his or another club.”
But the Premier League says it is a:
The Premier League said it considers the situation to be a “club matter”.
My god, it is like some kind of domestic dispute. WTF?
So what did the asshole say to Carneiro?
Dr Carneiro was lambasted by Jose Mourinho for running on to the pitch to treat player Eden Hazard during stoppage time of the club’s 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
Never mind that she was doing what she gets paid for. Never mind that she wasseemingly summoned on to the pitch twice by the referee Michael Oliver and that physio Jon Fearn went on to the field alongside her.
Cue major Mourinho tantrum on the sidelines.
After the match on Saturday, the Chelsea manager explained:
“I wasn’t happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game.”
“My medical department left me with eight fit outfield players in a counter attack after a set piece and we were worried we didn’t have enough players left.”
Take key note about the dig….regarding whether you are a medical doctor or a secretary…you have to understand the game.
And Carneiro, 41 who was born in Gibraltar, posted a message on Facebook:
“I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.”
How depressing, that one of the women at the forefront of football in this country feels she has to thank the public for encouraging her to simply do her job.
The sexism is strong with Mourinho….
Chelsea fans are upset, criticising Mourinho for ‘blaming anyone but himself’. While others are accusing
him of sexism, following an earlier incident this month where he ranted at the wife of Real Madrid manager Rafael Benítez, saying she should ‘occupy herself’ by ‘taking care of her husband’s diet’.
Now this is where that crack about understanding the game comes into play:
There are also those asking that we leave Carneiro’s gender out of the equation – but I’m afraid that’s impossible.
By saying that she doesn’t “understand the game”, Mourinho has made this all about her gender. The insidious narrative he’s perpetrating is that, as a woman, Carneiro couldn’t possibly grasp the complexities of football. It’s the old, sexist joke about women not getting the offside rule, on a massive scale.
Such comments, coming from a highly respected football manager, are dangerous. They give fans the impression that it’s OK to make Carneiro’s sex an issue. That maybe they were right to treat her differently. That she really in an outsider.
He has sanctioned their sexism, as the below tweets (just a sample of the comments Carneiro receives on social media) show. And one can’t help but speculate that Carneiro might agree.
Seriously, I bet there are more disgusting tweets out there and you can be sure she gets horrible sexist shit yelled to her at the games as well. (Go to that link, middle of page, and see the sexist abuse Carneiro received from fans as she took to the field.)
“Women want to be leaders, we just put them off as we go along,” she told the audience.
“In every programme I’ve watched in my life, the female doctor is either hyper-sexualised or she’s not present. This needs to change. Women are discouraged at a young age.
“As a male you can aspire to having a successful professional life and a fulfilling personal life. Women are told that if they want to have both, at best it’s going to be difficult and at worse it’s going to be a disaster. Ninety percent of the mail I receive is from young women wanting to perform the same role. We need to tell them it’s possible and that their presence will improve results.”
Carneiro doesn’t need special treatment. She has, to my knowledge, never asked for it.
But nor does she need a boss who tells her how to do her job, when she’s already playing by the rules – those set by football’s overwhelmingly male governing bodies (that Mourinho admitted he knew Hazard wasn’t properly injured only highlights where the grey area really lies here).
For this talented doctor to be demoted, simply for performing her job as asked, shows the sexism that flows through the veins of the beautiful game.
And I, for one, am calling foul.
Oh, yeah…and what is more disgusting is the reports that Mourinho called the doctor a slut. Which, I have looked and have been unable to find the original transcript for btw:
Sky Sports have published a transcription of the exchange, which took place in Portuguese and includes two insults directed towards Carneiro by Mourinho. In addition to yelling “slut” in her direction, the Chelsea boss calls for the medic to stop offering Hazard treatment whilst waving his arms theatrically and shouting,“stop, for f*ck’s sake”.
Not only do these reports indicate a massive lack of respect on Mourinho’s part, but what must not be neglected is the fact that Carneiro had no option but to enter the field of play after having been waved on by the referee.
In the aftermath of this incident, Mourinho has been heavily criticised by the English footballing world and this saga could very well impact on his relationship with the club owner,Roman Abramovich.
Other very interesting articles about this story, read them in full:
This next article talks about the ethics involved in the demotion and mistreatment of Carneiro. My question is, but….would the situation have turned out different if Carneiro was a man? I don’t know.
(Yes, there is another link dump ahead…but please take a look at these stories, they are important.)
Periods make you good at bowling?
Seriously…take a look at that video.
This next link is a pay per view, but if you subscribe it looks good: Kadner: ‘Horrific’ toll of unsolved Robbins rape cases – Daily Southtown
Read this next link with the story about being nice to asshole men in mind.
Man gives attention to a woman. Woman expresses her lack of desire for said attention. Man immediately turns hostile.
Unfortunately, it’s a dynamic as old as time — or at the very least, as old as Internet chat rooms. And anyone looking at BuzzFeed staff writer Grace Spelman’s Twitter feed on Monday saw said dynamic play out as Spelman tweeted her unsolicited, increasingly hostilecorrespondence with former “MuggleCast” host Ben Schoen.
Schoen initially tweeted at Spelman on August 5 after finding her Twitter feed funny. She “favorited” at least one of his tweets, but didn’t respond. He then sent her a lengthy Facebook message (see below), calling her a “special soul,” to which she responded kindly, but informed him that she had a boyfriend. She then blocked him on both Twitter and Facebook.
Yeah, take a look at that post, and see why it makes sense…a victim is trying to be nice to the attacker so that the violence does not get even more out of control…there are so many abused women who fit that mode. That assholes don’t see this, and will use it against the woman…saying her behavior asked for it. Bullshit!
Anyway, this is a shitload of links I know, hope you take your time and read them.
What is going on in your part of the world today?