Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump Tantrums

Why is the media "on a witch hunt" against me? -- Donald tRump

Why is the media “on a witch hunt” against me? — Donald tRump

Good Morning!!

First a quick update on the smoking situation I’ve been dealing with. I got an air purifier yesterday and I think it will help a lot as I wait for the man down the hall to be evicted. If necessary, I may get a smaller one to put in the kitchen later on. Someone gave the guy more warnings after my flurry of complaints last Monday and Tuesday, and the air was clear until Thursday afternoon when I noticed the hallway was filled with smoke again.

I called the office yesterday morning, and the woman I’ve been talking to was very nice and supportive. I guess maybe she was just stressed out the last time I talked to her. After all, she had been on the job for less than a week. Yesterday she told me that people have been upstairs monitoring the air every day and talking to the man. She has done a huge amount of paper work, sent him another warning letter and contacted the lawyers to begin working on the eviction. She wants me to call her every time I smell smoke so she can put notes in the file about every incident. She also told me it would help if I get my doctor to write a letter for me. So I’m very encouraged, although the eviction process will probably take awhile.

Thanks for all your support–it really made a difference to my state of mind.

It’s another crazy day in the news. President Baby-Man has been having a major tantrum on Twitter because he somehow learned (or suspects) that there was a FISA warrant for the phones in Trump Tower last fall.

NBC News at 8:29AM today: Trump Accuses Obama of Wiretapping Trump Tower During Campaign.

Donald Trump alleged in a tweet storm early Saturday that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower before his election victory.

Trump did not provide any evidence for the claims, which followed an interview on Fox News where the allegations came up.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump wrote as part of a series of tweets Saturday morning.

He added: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”

If it was “turned down by a court” the first time, it must have been a FISA warrant; there were some leaks that one had been obtained after an initial turndown. I guess tRump and his gang should have used better encryption.

How long are we going to have to put up with this joke of a “president” enriching himself from the public trough? Of course we don’t know yet where tRump got his information about the “wiretapping.” It could have been Infowars. The Washington Post thinks it might have been Breitbart: Trump cites no evidence, accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ plot to wiretap Trump Tower.

Trump offered no citations nor did he point to any credible news report to back up his accusation, but he may have been referring to commentary on Breitbart and conservative talk radio suggesting that Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team. The Breitbart story, published Friday, has been circulating among Trump’s senior staff, according to a White House official who described it as a useful catalogue of the Obama administration’s activities….

Trump has been feuding with the intelligence community since before he took office, convinced that career officers as well as holdovers from the Obama administration have been trying to sabotage his presidency. He has ordered internal inquiries to find who leaked sensitive information regarding communications during the campaign between Russian officials and his campaign associates and allies, including ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Reactions from John Schindler:

I have this image of tRump pacing back and forth in his bathrobe in his tacky apartment down in Palm Beach, screaming into his insecure cell phone in frustration. He just can’t understand why he should be subject to any checks on his power. He is truly insane. Folks, we are witnessing the biggest scandal in American history. It’s going to be yuuuuge!

Yesterday’s childish tantrum from President Baby-Man was a demand for an investigation of Chuck Schumer for meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2003. Huffington Post: Donald Trump’s Attempt To Shift Russia Focus To Chuck Schumer Is More Than A Little Desperate.

President Donald Trump attempted to call out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday by highlighting a meeting over a decade ago between Schumer and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump tweeted the image after it appeared in a Reddit thread Thursday and was shared by a number of conservative pundits, including an editor-at-large for Infowars.com, a site that promotes conspiracy theories. The picture also appeared on Gateway Pundit, which has also promoted conspiracies, as well as on conservative site, The Drudge Report.

The photo appears to be from 2003, when Putin made a public appearance at a New York City gas station that had recently been bought by Russia’s Lukoil. Schumer responded to Trump by highlighting the absurdity of his comparison, noting that Sessions denied having contact with Russia’s ambassador while he was under oath.

According to tRump whisperer and WaPo reporter Robert Costa, tRump was already mad as hell when he left for Florida yesterday.

Remember, Friday night and Saturday are the times when Ivanka and Jerrod are observing the Shabbot and aren’t available to exert control over the crazy man.

Maggie Haberman has more at The New York Times: Sessions Controversy Heightens Trump’s Feeling of Being Under Siege.

President Trump was still upbeat Wednesday night, as he settled into dinner in the White House residence with his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, some 24 hours after giving the most consequential speech of his brief presidency.

But not long afterward, the glow from Mr. Trump’s best day in office began to fade with the breaking news that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, had met with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign. Mr. Sessions failed to mention those conversations in his Senate confirmation hearing, or, according to presidential advisers, to tell Mr. Trump at all….

In a statement repeating a familiar critique that Democrats were on a “witch hunt” over the administration’s ties with Russia, Mr. Trump offered a passing but pointed public jab at how Mr. Sessions had handled the matter. “He could have stated his response more accurately,” Mr. Trump said.

The president was irritated that Mr. Sessions did not more carefully answer the questions he was asked under oath, according to people who spoke with him. His larger frustration, however, was not with Mr. Sessions, but with whoever revealed the meetings to reporters for The Washington Post.

Mr. Trump, according to his advisers inside and outside of the White House, has felt besieged by what he regards as a mostly hostile bureaucracy, consisting in part of Democrats and people who opposed his election who are now undermining his presidency with leaks. He believes that they are behind the stories about confusion and dysfunction in his administration and, most of all, that they have made his relationship with Russia a recurring issue.

WTF did he expect after he colluded with a hostile foreign power to damage Hillary and win the election? How stupid do you have to be to think you can get away with something like that?

I also have to wonder if tRump somehow heard about this Andrea Mitchell interview with Senator Chris Coons on MSNBC, posted by Malcolm Nance:

Now the trump administration is looking for technological ways to stop all the leaks, according to Foreign Policy.

White House IT officials met with at least one private firm selling a network security system that would give administration officials control over how staffers use computers and cellphones to transmit sensitive information, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move is part of broader push by the administration to rein in leakers across the federal bureaucracy and in the White House after a string of embarrassing disclosures to the media since Trump took office, the people said.

The leaks have ranged from details of President Donald Trump wearing a bathrobe to watch late-night television, to disclosures of National Security Advisor designee Michael Flynn’s communications with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Trump has denounced the leakers and vowed to hunt them down.

Now, the White House is searching for a high-tech solution akin to the defense systems used by companies to stop wayward employees from stealing proprietary data. The quest underscores the administration’s desire to better control the news cycle — and perhaps to quash dissent.

This guy is more paranoid than Richard Nixon. The Russian government and their puppet tRump may think the investigations of their ties are a witch hunt, but the American  public disagrees. Politico reports: Russia investigations a ‘witch hunt’? Not according to polls.

While the public still has considerable confusion about what, precisely, individuals connected to the Russian government did — and how they might have been connected to the Trump campaign — there is general consensus that whatever happened, it merits further independent investigation.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week asked Americans if they believe that Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin is “too friendly” or not. A 38 percent plurality called the Trump-Putin relationship too friendly, more than the 29 percent who said it wasn’t too friendly. Nearly a third, 32 percent, didn’t have an opinion.

When it comes to the Trump-Russia issue, there are two parallel trends that should raise red flags for the White House. First, as Americans have formed opinions on the issue, it has been to Trump’s detriment. Since December, the percentage of undecided Americans on the Trump-Putin relationship has declined from 44 percent to 32 percent. At the same time, the percentage who view Trump as too friendly with the Russian leader has risen from 31 percent to 38 percent.

Moreover, while nearly two-thirds of Democrats feel Trump is too friendly with Putin, only half (52 percent) of Republicans feel he isn’t too friendly with his Russian counterpart. Independents are unsure about Trump’s relationship with Putin — but more feel they are too friendly (35 percent) than think they aren’t (27 percent).

I’ll have more links in the comment thread, and I invite you to share what you’re reading and hearing. Have a great weekend, Sky Dancers!


Breaking News

Comey clears Clinton yet again.

 


Thursday Reads: James Comey’s FBI Tries to Steal 2016 Election for Donald Trump

100-year-old Gertrude Gottschalk of Carson City, NV, casts her ballot. for Hillary.

100-year-old Gertrude Gottschalk of Carson City, NV, casts her ballot. for Hillary.

Good Afternoon!!

This post is illustrated with photos of women who were born before women’s suffrage and are voting for Hillary Clinton.

Just 5 more days until November 8. Then another day of waiting for the votes to be counted. After Hillary wins and we celebrate our first woman President and the ignominious defeat of the authoritarian fascist psychopath, there is going to have to be a major housecleaning at the FBI.

Before I get into the FBI news, some wisdom from 2012 Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

The Election Polls That Matter. You need to read the whole thing at the NYT, but here’s are some excerpts:

The best campaigns don’t bother with national polls — I’ve come to hate public polling, period. In the 2012 race we focused on a “golden report,” which included 62,000 simulations to determine Mr. Obama’s chances of winning battleground states. It included state tracking polls and nightly calls from volunteers, but no national tracking polls….

Today, campaigns can target voters so well that they can personalize conversations. That is the only way, when any candidate asks about the state of the race, to offer a true assessment.

Hillary Clinton can do that. To my knowledge, Donald J. Trump, who has bragged that he doesn’t care about data in campaigns, can’t….

in recent days, Mr. Trump has campaigned in New Mexico, a state he has no chance of winning. Candidates can get more money and adjust their message, but the one thing they can’t do is make more time; every wasted hour in a noncompetitive state is a grave error. Mrs. Clinton continues to go on the offensive in states like Arizona, where the race is close.

“Big data” is a buzzword, but that concept is outdated. Campaigns have entered the era of “little data.” Huge data sets are often less helpful in understanding an electorate than one or two key data points — for instance, what issue is most important to a particular undecided voter.

With “little data,” campaigns can have direct, highly personalized conversations with voters both on- and offline, like an ad on a voter’s Facebook page addressing an issue the voter is passionate about. In 2016, we see that online political engagement rates (especially for young voters) are at a historic high.

This is why campaigns no longer pay much attention to public polls, which often use conversations with just a few hundred people to make predictions about the entire electorate.

Now please go read the rest and have faith in Hillary’s sophisticated GOTV operation and the Obama coalition!

Conway, MA resident Helen Reed

Conway, MA resident Helen Reed

Positive news for Hillary from Latino Decisions: Latino Electorate On Track For Historic Turnout In 2016.

According to the latest data from our national tracking poll, Latino Decisions projects that between 13.1 million and 14.7 million Latinos will vote in 2016. This estimate represents a three percent to five percent increase over the 2012 Latino turnout rate which, coupled with the dramatic growth of the age-eligible Latino population, will yield between 1.9 million and 3.5 million additional Latinos voters in 2016 compared to the 11.2 million who voted four years ago.

Latino Decisions also projects that 79 percent of Latinos will vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, 18 percent for Republican nominee Donald Trump, and the remaining three percent voting for other candidates. Clinton’s projected share is higher than both Latino Decisions’ estimated 75 percent Latino vote share and 71 percent exit poll share Democrat Barack Obama received during his 2012 re-election bid.

Over the past seven weeks, the Latino Decisions weekly tracking poll has demonstrated heightened enthusiasm for voting in 2016 and record-high levels of support for Hillary Clinton. Each week, the released poll has captured a rolling cross-section of 500 bilingual interviews conducted nationwide with Latino registered voters and has found little fluctuation either with respect to likely turnout or the proportion of the Latino electorate anticipated to vote for each presidential candidate. From a statistical modeling perspective, this stability is good and suggests more confidence in our model estimates for Election Day.

More details at the link.

Now for some reads about James Comey’s FBI and their efforts to elect Donald Trump.

jerry-emmett-102-prescott-arizona

Andrew Rosenthal at the NYT: James Comey’s Self-Righteous Meddling.

There are two possible explanations for James Comey’s decision to announce last week that he was examining emails that “appear to be pertinent” to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

One explanation, which I tend to believe, is that Comey, the director of the F.B.I., set out to interfere in the campaign on behalf of the Republican Party, a shocking act that would render him unfit for his powerful office.

(In that scenario, the aim may have not primarily been to help Donald Trump, but to preserve the Republican majorities in Congress, which suddenly seemed in danger this fall. Can you imagine how intense the pressure on Comey from the Hill must have been following his announcement this summer that the investigation was being closed?)

The other possible explanation is that he acted out of what you might charitably call a sense of moral rectitude. I think it’s better described as self-righteousness — a dangerous current in modern right-wing politics that has its roots in the rise of the Moral Majority, which aimed to make politics a choice between good values (the right’s) and bad values (the left’s) rather than a competition of ideas.

Certainly, Comey was not acting out of respect for protocol, ethics and procedure….

The idea that he wanted to help his political party is pretty terrifying. But the idea that he acted out of moral self-righteousness is not much more reassuring, given the immense powers of his office.

Read the rest at the NYT link.

ruline-steininger-proud-iowan-103-years-old

Adele Stan at The National Memo: Is Reckless Comey Seeking Revenge On Critics Via FBI Twitter Account?

Something very dangerous is happening in the Federal Bureau of Investigation: The nation’s foremost law enforcement agency appears to be at war both within itself and with the Department of Justice, to which it belongs. The disagreements all involve our national politics and the FBI’s appropriate role in them, leaving the American people with yet another major institution on their do-not-trust list. The government is coming ever more undone, so much so that a recent Twitter post from an FBI account is raising questions about who’s behind it—the director of the FBI, or agents seemingly beyond his control….

Now comes word, via Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal, that agents who were investigating allegations of influence-peddling involving the Clinton Foundation were incensed when higher-ups at the Justice Department urged them to tread carefully so as to adhere to department guidelines against taking action that could influence an election, and that members of the Department’s anti-corruption unit didn’t think the FBI had a strong case.

No kidding. The “investigation” was based on right-wing news articles and the anti-Clinton propaganda tome “Clinton Cash.”

It seems as if whoever controls a Bureau Twitter account called @FBIRecordsVault has struck back against all those Clinton surrogates who are calling foul on Comey. The account, whose purpose is the posting of documents released through Freedom of Information Act requests, appears to have been dead for a year—no postings since Oct. 7, 2015. Suddenly, on Tuesday, it sprang to life with a handful of posts, one a nothing-burger on Fred Trump, father of the Republican standard-bearer; and another on an old investigation of the Clinton Foundation and President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, then a fugitive hedge-fund manager whose wife had donated to the DNC and the Clinton Foundation. It was Comey who brought the criminal case against Rich, Bloomberg News reports, and is said to have been “stunned” by Clinton’s pardon of the financier. The documents linked in the tweet don’t say much of anything (they’re heavily redacted), but the tweet itself does reinforce in the public mind the controversies advanced by Clinton’s enemies about the foundation. It’s not the fact of the tweet that’s at issue—the material was released via FOIA—but the timing of it from an account that was only reactivated Sunday.

Read many more details at the link.

Stellajoe Staebler, 100, Centralia, Washington

Stellajoe Staebler, 100, Centralia, Washington

Judd Legum at Think Progress: FBI launches internal investigation into its own Twitter account.

The account at issue, @FBIRecordsVault, had been dormant for more than a year. Then on October 30 at 4 a.m., the account released a flood of documents, including one describing Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump as a “philanthropist.” ….

But it wasn’t until two days later, when the account tweeted documents regarding President Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich that the account began to attract significant attention….

Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI’s Inspection Division for an “investigation.” Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.”

Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.

Will was responding to a complaint from Jonathan Hutson, a former investigative reporter who now works in communication in Washington, DC.

Read more, and see the tweets at Think Progress.

Estelle Liebow Schultz, 98, of Rockville, Maryland

Estelle Liebow Schultz, 98, of Rockville, Maryland

Eli Lake at Bloomberg: The FBI Wants to Make America Great Again.

As Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman and Trump supporter, told me Wednesday, “The Marc Rich tweet is evidence of open warfare between the Justice Department and the FBI.” Corallo said this is largely because frustrated field agents believe the Justice Department has stymied the bureau’s investigations into Clinton’s e-mails and the Clinton Foundation.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told me it was true that records requested from multiple people are supposed to be added to the government agency’s electronic reading room. “What undermines that explanation is that they were not just added to the reading room, they were broadcast on this rarely used Twitter account,” he said. What’s more, Aftergood said government agencies have great discretion when they respond to Freedom of Information Act requests. “There is always a bottleneck, because the resources to review FOIA requests are inadequate to the demand,” he said.

The move certainly appeared political. After all, former Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the first former officials to criticizeComey’s decision to update Congress on the e-mail investigation. Perhaps the tweet was a shot across the bow to Holder, who recommended the Rich pardon in 2000 as deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton.

So what’s going on here? As the New York Times and the Washington Post are now reporting, and as my own sources confirm, many rank-and-file FBI officials are frustrated about the investigation into the Clinton Foundation and the way the e-mail probe was handled. Republicans too have wanted to see the FBI more robustly investigate the Clintons. So Comey has tried his best to split the baby.

garvin-colburn-with-her-daughter-rosemary-milburn-votes-in-chattanooge-tn

Wayne Barrett at The Daily Beast: Meet Donald Trump’s Top FBI Fanboy.

Two days before FBI director James Comey rocked the world last week, Rudy Giuliani was on Fox, where he volunteered, un-prodded by any question: “I think he’s [Donald Trump] got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”

Pressed for specifics, he said: “We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.”

The man who now leads “lock-her-up” chants at Trump rallies spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it. It was agents of that office, probing Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting of a minor, who pressed Comey to authorize the review of possible Hillary Clinton-related emails on a Weiner device that led to the explosive letter the director wrote Congress.

Hours after Comey’s letter about the renewed probe was leaked on Friday, Giuliani went on a radio show and attributed the director’s surprise action to “the pressure of a group of FBI agents who don’t look at it politically.”

“The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity,” said Giuliani. “I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”

Along with Giuliani’s other connections to New York FBI agents, his former law firm, then called Bracewell Giuliani, has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. The group, born in the New York office in the early ’80s, was headed until Monday by Rey Tariche, an agent still working in that office. Tariche’s resignation letter from the bureau mentioned the Clinton probe, noting that “we find our work—our integrity questioned” because of it, adding “we will not be used for political gains.”

Also check out this piece by Barrett at The New York Daily News: Peas in a pod: The long and twisted relationship between Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

As I wrote on Tuesday, Hillary is running against the Donald Trump, the GOP, the FBI, Wikileaks, and Vladimir Putin. And she’s still winning!

Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread below and have a terrific Thursday. Hillary will be our next POTUS!


Lazy Saturday Reads: James Comey Must Resign

ap_james_comey_mm_160225_16x9_992

Good Morning!!

FBI Director James Comey, in the words of Lawrence Tribe, has “throw[n] a huge bomb at the election.” Hillary will still win, but Comey, with pressure from House Republicans and Donald Trump, may have negatively affected downticket races for Democrats.

As we all know, yesterday Comey sent a letter to GOP chairmen in Congress announcing that FBI investigators had found emails that could be “pertinent” to the Clinton server investigation. Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Messrs Chairmen:

In previous congressional testimony, l referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.
Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.

Sincerely yours,
James B. Comey
Director

Naturally, Rep. Jason Chaffetz immediately released the letter to the press, and hundreds of political reporters and cable talking heads went wild in a disgusting feeding frenzy, falsely reporting that the investigation into Clinton’s serve had been “reopened” even though Comey’s letter didn’t say any such thing.

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Later in the day, Comey tried to cover his ass by sending a second letter to FBI employees. That letter was also obtained by The Washington Post. Here’s the text:

To all:

This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation.  Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case.  Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.  At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.  In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.

Jim Comey

imrs

No kidding. The Justice Department, which is in charge of the FBI, has historically tried to avoid politicizing investigation, especially within at least 60 days of an election. But Comey already chose to politicize the Clinton investigation with his highly inappropriate press conference in July.  Following that clusterfuck, former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller strongly criticized Comney’s actions.

“It’s not just unusual, it’s unprecedented,” said Matthew Miller, who was director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder and now works at strategic advisory firm Vianovo. “He’s put himself into the middle of a political campaign in a way that will call into question the legitimacy of the office.”

“You’ll now have people in the middle of a campaign able to say, ‘Well, the FBI director said Hillary Clinton was careless,'” Miller added. “That’s not the FBI director’s job to do, and the rules are set up to prohibit that kind of behavior.”

As we all know, Comey was then pressured by Republicans to testify before Congress about his decision not to charge Clinton. After that he took the unprecedented step of publicly releasing the FBI’s notes of Clinton’s private interview about the server. Comey is apparently hoping to become J. Edgar Hoover 2.0 with his blatant abuse of power.

We now know that the emails were found on a laptop that Huma Abedin shared with her estranged husband and social media pervert Anthony Weiner. They were not sent or received by Clinton and very likely are simply copies of emails that the FBI has already examined.

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This morning, Jane Mayer revealed that in his letter yesterday Comey went against the recommendation of Attorney General Lorretta Lynich–his boss: James Comey Broke with Loretta Lynch and Justice Department Tradition.

Coming less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.

Comey’s decision is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.

“You don’t do this,” one former senior Justice Department official exclaimed. “It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.” The reason, according to the former official, who asked not to be identified because of ongoing cases involving the department, “is because it impugns the integrity and reputation of the candidate, even though there’s no finding by a court, or in this instance even an indictment.”

Traditionally, the Justice Department has advised prosecutors and law enforcement to avoid any appearance of meddling in the outcome of elections, even if it means holding off on pressing cases. One former senior official recalled that Janet Reno, the Attorney General under Bill Clinton, “completely shut down” the prosecution of a politically sensitive criminal target prior to an election. “She was adamant—anything that could influence the election had to go dark,” the former official said.

Four years ago, then Attorney General Eric Holder formalized this practice in a memo to all Justice Department employees.

Not only that, but Comey’s announced resulted in a dramatic drop in the stock market. Once masssive FBI leaks clarified that Hillary Clinton likely didn’t send or receive any of the emails in question, the market began to rise again.

To top it all off, we have now learned that the FBI had the emails in question at least a month ago!

According to Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald, many in the FBI are angry at Comey.

And there’s this from Josh Marshall.

I don’t see how Comey recovers from this. He needs to resign, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. CNN legal analyst Paul Callan: Time for FBI director Comey to go.

Donald Trump’s oft-repeated claim that the FBI’s investigation of “Crooked Hillary” and the presidential election itself were and are “rigged,” seems to have thrown FBI Director James Comey into a state of panic. In foolishly making a public announcement that the bureau is reviewing newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, he has inserted himself yet again into the presidential campaign.

The FBI virtually never announces the commencement or termination of ongoing criminal investigations or the discovery of new evidence. Such inquiries are often conducted in relative secrecy, enabling a more efficient investigation….

The old, sensible FBI rule book apparently has been thrown on the trash heap this year. While undoubtedly attempting to be open and “transparent,” to protect the reputation of the FBI, the FBI director has tossed a Molotov cocktail into the presidential race.

Voters must now be subjected to endless speculation in the press and explicit accusations from the Trump campaign and other Republican candidates that Hillary Clinton is a “criminal” aided and abetted by a rigged FBI and Justice Department. Comey’s “openness and transparency” will blow up in his face and further tarnish the FBI’s reputation. He has reinserted the Bureau into the political process.

More interesting reads on the Comey mess:

Politico: Comey’s disclosure shocks former prosecutors.

Greg Sargent: James Comey needs to clean up his mess. Here’s what we need to know.

LA Times: FBI says emails found in Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal may have links to Clinton probe.

Benjamin Wittes at the Lawfare blog: Memo to the Press: What Comey’s Letter Does and Doesn’t Mean.

Jamie Bouie: Why the “October Surprise” Is Dead

Kurt Eichenwald: Hillary Clinton’s Emails: The Real Reason the FBI is Reviewing More of Them.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? What stories are you following today?

 


Tuesday Reads: NASA Goes to Jupiter and Other News

Juno spacecraft

Juno spacecraft

Good Afternoon!!

Lots of breaking news this morning. FBI Director James Comey just held a press conference to announce that the FBI will not be recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of State Department emails. NBC News reports:

“No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey told reporters.

Federal investigators did not find evidence of intentional wrongdoing, he said — but there is evidence the former secretary of state and her staff were “extremely careless.”

Comey said 110 emails sent or received on the Clinton server contained classified information. He also said it’s possible “hostile actors” gained access to the server.

So there’s still plenty of fodder for the Clinton haters and conspiracy theorists to scream out. Meanwhile, Wikileaks released a more than 1,200 of Clinton’s emails. The Independent:

The website tweeted a link to 1,258 emails on Monday that Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state. According to the release, the emails were obtained from the US State Department after they issued a Freedom of Information Act request. The emails stem from a State Department release back in February, The Hill reports.

And from NY Magazine:

If you have some hours to kill, you could do worse than a deep dive into the Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks yesterday. The site went through the emails released earlier in the year by the State Department looking for any mentions of the Iraq War. The 1,258 emails show mostly that people at the State Department are just like us, namely in that they spend their days sending their colleagues links to things they read online.

It doesn’t sound all that exciting, but Julian Assange thinks Clinton should be prosecuted. This from the guy who ran from a rape charge.

Watch Comey’s press conference:

 

There’s been another terrorist attack, this time in Saudi Arabia. Reuters: U.N. rights boss calls bombing near Saudi holy mosque an attack on Islam.

The U.N. human rights chief on Tuesday called a suicide bombing outside the Prophet Mohammad’s Mosque in the Saudi city of Medina an attack on Islam itself and many Muslims expressed shock that their second-holiest site had been targeted.

Three apparently coordinated suicide attacks on Monday targeted Medina, the U.S. consulate in Jeddah and the largely Shi’ite Muslim city of Qatif on Monday. At least four security officers were killed.

No group has claimed responsibility but Islamic State has carried out similar bombings in the U.S.-allied kingdom in the past year, targeting Shi’ites and Saudi security forces.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and a member of the Jordanian royal family, delivered his remarks via a spokesman in Geneva.

“This is one of the holiest sites in Islam, and for such an attack to take place there, during Ramadan, can be considered a direct attack on Muslims all across the world,” he said, referring to the Islamic holy month.

“It is an attack on the religion itself.”

Militant attacks on Medina are unprecedented. The city is home to the second-holiest site in Islam, a mosque built by the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, which also houses his tomb.

NBC News: ISIS Fulfills Promise of Deadly Ramadan as Holy Month Comes to an End.

With Ramadan drawing to a close on Tuesday, ISIS has fulfilled its promise of staining the Muslim holy month with bloodshed around the globe—taking credit for some of the deadly attacks that have killed hundreds in several countries, including in Iraq, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

The terrorist group vowed in May, just before Ramadan began, to make it “with God’s permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere.” And that it was, with many countries remaining on high alert following the attacks.

The past few days have been particularly violent. Suicide bombs rocked two Saudi Arabian cities on Monday, killing at least four security officers, wounding five other people — and coming just hours after authorities in a third city stopped a bomber just feet from the U.S. Consulate.

On the attacks in Saudi Arabia:

In Saudi Arabia, the attacks began Sunday night, when a suicide bomber was stopped by security personnel in a hospital parking lot about 30 feet from the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah.

The bomber detonated an explosive belt, killing himself and “slightly” injuring two officers, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement. No Americans were hurt and all State Department personnel were accounted for.

Hours later, on the other side of the country, a pair of suicide bombers attacked the Persian Gulf city of Qatif, a Ministry of Interior source confirmed to NBC News. Details of casualties in the largely minority Shi’ite city were not immediately available.

Shortly after that, four security officers were killed — as well as a suicide bomber — near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, a site considered to be the second holiest in Islam.

The attack occurred in a parking lot outside the mosque, during Maghreb prayers, when the bomber pretended to break the Ramadan fast with a group of security personnel, al Arabiya reported.

 

Now for some positive–even thrilling–news. NASA’s Juno spacecraft is now orbiting Jupiter! CNN:

Jet Propulsion Lab, California (CNN)NASA says it has received a signal from 540 million miles across the solar system, confirming its Juno spacecraft has successfully started orbiting Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

Welcome to Jupiter!” flashed on screens at mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

The Juno team cheered and hugged. “This is phenomenal,” said Geoff Yoder, acting administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate….

The probe had to conduct a tricky maneuver to slow down enough to allow it to be pulled into orbit: It fired its main engine for 35 minutes, effectively hitting the brakes to slow the spacecraft by about 1,212 miles per hour (542 meters per second).

Juno was launched nearly five years ago on a mission to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo. Galileo was deliberately crashed into Jupiter on September 21, 2003, to protect one of its discoveries — a possible ocean beneath Jupiter’s moon Europa.

More from Spaceflight Now:

A 1/5th size scale model of NASA's Juno spacecraft is displayed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, July 4, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK

A 1/5th size scale model of NASA’s Juno spacecraft is displayed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, July 4, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK

Setting up post at the king of planets, NASA’s Juno spacecraft fired its main engine for 35 minutes Monday, steering into orbit around Jupiter to peer inside the gas giant and give scientists a better idea of how the solar system took shape 4.6 billion years ago.

Spinning on its axis once every 12 seconds, the probe’s British-built rocket thruster ignited and slowed down Juno just enough to be snared by Jupiter’s strong gravity field into a looping, 53-day-long orbit.

Confirmation of the burn’s successful conclusion reached Earth at 11:53 p.m. EDT (0353 GMT) via a radio tone broadcast by Juno, prompting applause and smiles inside the control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“All stations… we have the tone for burn cutoff on delta-v,” a ground controller said over a radio loop. “Welcome to Jupiter.”

Powered by three solar panels arranged in a propeller-like pattern around Juno’s main body, the Jupiter orbiter wrapped up a five-year, 1.7-billion-mile (2.8-billion-kilometer) trip with Monday’s automated rendezvous with the solar system’s biggest planet.

“Tonight, through tones, Juno sang to us, and it was a song of perfection,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno’s project manager at JPL. “After a 1.7-billion-mile journey, we hit our burn target within one second.”

The record-setting journey made Juno the farthest spacecraft from the sun to ever rely on solar power, and Monday’s maneuver made the $1.1 billion mission the second to ever orbit Jupiter.

Read more about it at the link.

Hillary will be campaigning with President Obama this afternoon–that should also be exciting. Politico: Obama and Clinton rally against Trump.

When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama publicly reconciled eight years ago at a celebrated summer rally in Unity, New Hampshire, the two recent rivals were still closer to being opponents than friends.

While both candidates were set on healing the Democratic Party after a divisive primary, the lead-up to the event was fraught. Did their show of warmth — a kiss on the tarmac in Washington, D.C., as they boarded a chartered plane together — appear genuine? Would their praise for each other — “she rocks,” gushed Obama, seeking to win over her supporters — seem too forced?

When President Obama takes the stage at the Charlotte Convention Center with Clinton on Tuesday afternoon for their first joint rally of the 2016 campaign, it will be most notable for how far the two leaders of the Democratic Party have come in the eight intervening years.

“It is as far from fraught as can be,” said Obama’s former chief strategist, David Axelrod, of Obama’s long-anticipated campaign trail debut. “He’s been chomping at the bit to get out there. There’s so many reasons why he feels strongly about this — part of it is his genuine respect for her, part of it is his feelings about the alternative. There’s no half-hearted warrior here.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton confidant, said of Tuesday’s rally that unlike eight years ago, “they have such a great relationship that there’s nothing to psychoanalyze. He wants to do everything he can for her.”

ClintonObama_c0-10-3087-1809_s885x516

I can’t wait to watch them together on stage. On Friday Hillary will campaign with Joe Biden in his birthplace, Scranton, PA.

Here’s something else to look forward to. Buzzfeed is going to be working “a new beat” that will involve countering fake news and viral lies. First Draft News: How BuzzFeed wants to use its social media acumen to take on the hoaxers.

BuzzFeed Canada editor and First Draft Coalition member Craig Silverman will be leading the charge from Toronto, “bringing his deep expertise at debunking hoaxes to our reporting arsenal,” said Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed’s head of international growth, “and acting as a resource for all BuzzFeed editions, as well as a watchdog on behalf of our readers worldwide.”

“We’re in a really early phase of testing” Silverman told First Draft, “and seeing what’s going to work in terms of content produced and what works for the BuzzFeed audience.”

Almost every other story in the last month from Silverman, who founded the (currently dormant) rumour-tracking project Emergent, has been a debunk of one kind or another.Quick stories which set the record straight, in-depth investigations into the phenomenon of misinformation and weekly quizzes of the latest fake news to go viral have all been testing grounds to see what resonates with readers.

The biggest challenge for BuzzFeed – and for fact-checkers and debunkers the world over – will be in figuring out a way to make debunks travel as far and fast as the false rumours they address.

Read more at the link.

I haven’t heard anything about Bernie Sanders for days. I’ve been ignoring him, but he also seems to have dropped out of the news. But he’s still getting Secret Service protection. CNN: Sanders’ campaign is over, yet Secret Service motorcade roars on.

Bernie Sanders is back to his old day job, trading the booming applause of his campaign rallies to the far more tedious work of the Senate….But just off the Senate floor and across the Capitol, one vestige of his presidential campaign remains: his Secret Service detail. And taxpayers are footing the bill.

Protecting a presidential candidate costs about $40,000 a day, a federal official familiar with the Homeland Security budget told CNN. For Sanders, that’s more than a half-million dollars since the last primary on June 14. The cost could grow by nearly $2 million if he stays in the race through the Democratic convention in Philadelphia later.

The federal official said it’s difficult to tally exact costs, since some agents are working on other projects simultaneously, but the overall amount spent on Sanders is far higher when calculating the weeks of protection he received after the nomination was effectively out of his reach, as Hillary Clinton surpassed him in the delegate count.

Sanders waved off questions on the matter.

Maybe he’ll keep right on campaigning through November 8. Nothing would surprise me at this point.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

Thursday Reads: I’ve Had it with the Haters.

download

Good Morning!!

This morning I feel as if I’ve gone through a long dark tunnel and come out the other side. I’ve finally accepted that Hillary Clinton will be continue to be attacked unmercifully by the media and her opponents on both the right and left forever. I’m sure the attacks will continue if she gets the Democratic nomination and even if she becomes President of the United States. I don’t care anymore.

Can you imagine if Bernie Sanders–or Donald Trump for that matter–were being attacked as personally and as relentlessly as Hillary is? They would both be screaming bloody murder. In fact, they both whine and complain at the slightest criticism. Hillary is strong as steel. She never gives up. She will fight for the presidency so she can fight for us from the most powerful position in the world. She will fight for women and children around the world as she did for four years as Secretary of State.

I’ll stand with her to the end, through thick and thin. I’ve had it with the haters, especially the fake “progressive” ones.

There is another Democratic debate tonight, this one in Milwaukee. Someone will start a live blog to discuss it later tonight.

Now to the news.

Oregon Standoff

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets the children of U.S. Embassy employees at the embassy in Tokyo Sunday, April 17, 2011. Clinton is on a brief visit to Tokyo intended as a morale boost to the crucial U.S. ally. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets the children of U.S. Embassy employees at the embassy in Tokyo Sunday, April 17, 2011. Clinton is on a brief visit to Tokyo intended as a morale boost to the crucial U.S. ally. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

The Oregonian reports: Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy arrested by FBI in Portland.

Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who touched off one armed showdown with federal authorities and applauded another started in Oregon by his sons, was arrested late Wednesday at Portland International Airport and faces federal charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch.

Bundy, 74, was booked into the downtown Multnomah County jail at 10:54 p.m.

He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer — the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges.

The Bundy Ranch Facebook page reported Cliven Bundy was surrounded by SWAT officers and detained after his arrival from Nevada.

He was arrested at 10:10 p.m., authorities said.

The Bundy patriarch had traveled to Portland with plans to go on to Burns, where four occupiers had been the remaining holdouts of the refuge occupation.

Bundy has been under federal scrutiny since his ranch standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. He has not paid grazing fees on federal land and he owes the agency $1 million in unpaid fees and penalties. He and militia supporters confronted federal agents who had impounded Bundy’s cattle that were found on federal property.

REFILE - CORRECTING SPELLING U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by human trafficking victims Van Sina (2nd L) and Somana (3rd R) at the Siem Reap AFESIP rehabilitation and vocational training center October 31, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA - Tags: POLITICS)

The FBI is getting more confrontational with the occupiers Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Again from The Oregonian: Oregon standoff: FBI moves in on last refuge occupiers. The story begins with two recent updates:

UPDATE: 5 a.m. THURSDAY Franklin Graham, North Carolina evangelist, said on his Facebook page this morning that he was on his way to Oregon to help end the refuge standoff. He said he was on the phone with the remaining four last night as the FBI closed in. He expects to reach the refuge around 7 a.m.

UPDATE 10 p.m.: The live stream that broadcast online what appears to be the last stage of the refuge occupation stopped after more than five hours. The phone feed ended as the occupiers headed to their night camp, preparing to surrender Thursday morning. They said they have a promise that the encircling FBI agents would leave them alone overnight.

BURNS – FBI agents in armored vehicles moved in Wednesday night on the last four occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, hemming them into their rough camp and insisting they put down their guns and surrender.

The occupiers rejected the demands for hours before one of them said they will turn themselves in at a checkpoint once a national religious figure and a Nevada state legislator arrive. It was scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, but it wasn’t clear if the deal involved all of the four occupiers.

The standoff played out for hours through an open phone line being streamed to YouTube. At one point, an estimated 60,000 people listened as the occupiers displayed anger and panic, prayed with those on the phone and yelled at the FBI agents surrounding them.

They’re the remainders of a group of anti-government militants who took over the wildlife refuge headquarters Jan. 2. The four have been on their own since Jan. 28 — two days after the occupation leaders were arrested on a highway north of Burns and protest spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed.

Those left at the refuge 30 miles southeast of Burns are David Fry, 27, of the Cincinnati area, Jeff Banta, 46, of Elko, Nevada, Sean Anderson, 47, and his wife Sandy, 48, of Riggins, Idaho.

Sanders Campaign Updates

04JUN12HillaryClinton_600_1

CNN has finally reported on the Sanders campaign’s vile treatment of a Nevada DREAMer: Sanders campaign touts another endorsement that didn’t happen.

Brenda Romero, a Nevada student leader and DREAMer that Bernie Sanders’ campaign touted as someone who endorsed their campaign, tells CNN she never endorsed the Vermont senator and is backing Hillary Clinton.

Romero said Monday she had agreed to be part of Sanders’ Nevada Latino Steering Committee, but that she never endorsed the senator.

Sanders released the list of activists and elected officials on his Latino committee in January.

“Tomorrow, a group of highly respected community leaders will announce their support for Bernie Sanders for president,” said a statement about the press conference.

The list included Lucy Flores, former Nevada state assemblywoman and congressional candidate, and Romero, a undocumented DREAMer and class president at College of Southern Nevada.

“I didn’t agree to such an endorsement,” Romero said Monday, noting that while she agreed to be part of the steering committee, she was told that the role would be advising the “campaign and potentially Sen. Sanders about immigration issues.”

2015-06-15-universal-preschool.focus-none.width-1200

The Sanders campaign retaliated by releasing private emails between Romero and a Sanders staffer.

In an emails provided by the Sanders campaign, Romero did agree to be part of the steering committee, telling a Sanders staffer that she would be “honored to be part of this.” ….

Nowhere in the email exchange, though, does Romero agree to endorse Sanders. In fact, Romero asked not to have her title included in any campaign lists because as student body president, she has “to stay neutral to candidates.”

But because Romero has grown frustrated with the Sanders campaign, she said Monday that she is backing Clinton.

“I believe that Hillary has my back, and that she is the only candidate capable of accomplishing things in the face of Republican obstruction,” Clinton said. “She will get things done for immigrants families.” ….

I’m also disappointed by the attacks from senior staffers on the Sanders campaign on Astrid Silva,” she said. “It shows how disconnected they are from Nevada, and they should apologize to her. There is no room for hate between DREAMers in this campaign.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, greets Cambodian children during her visit to a shelter for victims of sexual exploitation in Siem Reap about 230 kilometers (140 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. Clinton was in the midst of a two-week, seven-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

In other Sanders News, there was quite a reaction on Twitter yesterday when the United Nurses superpac that supports Bernie tweeted that it was holding an education session in South Carolina for Sanders supporters on how to talk to black women. There wasn’t a single black woman in attendance. The tweets was resoundingly mocked and then deleted, but there are screenshots all over the place.

If you search for “how to talk to black women” on Twitter, you’ll see some hilarious responses.

Clinton Campaign News

Yesterday, President Obama essentially endorsed Hillary for the Democratic nomination. He had already indicated as much in an interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush in January.

477235334-former-u-s-secretary-of-state-and-democratic.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Huffington Post: Obama Speech Sure Sounds Like A Tacit Endorsement Of Clinton.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday gave a rousing speech on America’s political culture, decrying the influence of big money, encouraging compromise and warning people against believing in absolutes from either party.

“Trying to find common ground [with Republicans] doesn’t make me less of a Democrat or less of a progressive,” Obama told an audience in Springfield, Illinois. “It means I’m trying to get stuff done.”

The speech was delivered the day after two ideologues, billionaire Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), won the New Hampshire primaries by harnessing voter anger at the perceived “establishment” in politics. But Obama’s words on Wednesday sounded like a tacit endorsement of his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton….

Obama, who appointed Clinton his first secretary of state after defeating her in the 2008 Democratic primary, seemed on Wednesday to clearly fall on the Clinton side of the ideological divide.

He said that labels, such as “not a real progressive” — which Sanders has used against Clinton — are damaging to the national discourse.

“So when I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I’m not impressed,” Obama said. “All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments, like fixing roads, educating kids, passing budgets, cleaning our environment, making our streets safe.”

HILLARY CLINTON HUGS FORMER FOSTER CARE YOUTH.

And from Politico: Jay Carney: Obama wants Clinton to win.

“I think the president has signaled while still remaining neutral that he supports Secretary Clinton’s candidacy and would prefer to see her as the nominee,” Carney said on CNN Wednesday following coverage of the president’s speech to the Illinois state Senate in Springfield.

Obama will not “officially embrace her unless and until it’s clear she is going to be the nominee,” Carney said.

“I think he is maintaining that tradition of not intervening in a party primary,” he added. “But I don’t think there is any doubt that he wants Hillary to win the nomination and believes she would be the best candidate in the fall and the most effective as president in carrying forward what he has achieved.”

Today the Congressional Black Caucus will endorse Hillary. Politico: Congressional Black Caucus PAC to endorse Clinton. Bernie’s supporters are busy tweeting that the CBC doesn’t represent Black people, lol.

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton on Thursday.

It’s a coup for the Democratic presidential contender, as many of the black lawmakers can help leverage support for Clinton in African-American communities that will be critical during her primary battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), a former CBC chair said the former Secretary of State is a better candidate for African-Americans on national security and economic security.

“It is really, really clear to people who are paying attention at this point that she probably knows more about how to move us forward,” said Fudge. “As I look at her history, she has worked with people who are undeserved for her entire career…she’s been talking about this for her entire life. I’ve only heard about it from Sanders in the last year.”

This endorsement has been planned for some time, but many in the media are reporting that the CBC is rushing to rescue a struggling Hillary Clinton. ROFLOL!

Sen. James Clyburn has not yet officially endorsed Hillary, but he made no objection to the CBD endorsement. He is reportedly thinking about endorsing her soon, and says he could never endorse Sanders.

What stories are you following today?


Lazy Saturday Reads: Mary Cassatt’s Mothers and Children (Plus News)

Reine Lefebre And Margot Before A Window, Mary Cassatt

Reine Lefebre And Margot Before A Window, Mary Cassatt

Happy Weekend!

The best way to have a happy weekend might be to go into a cocoon and isolate yourself from the outside world and the ugly things that are happening in it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it. I’ve become addicted to knowing what’s going on out there.

What has really been bugging me for the past couple of days is the way law enforcement agencies and the media refuse to label even horrendously violent acts like the attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs “terrorism.”

It seems the only events that get that designation are those involving Muslim attackers. In my estimation a violent attack that kills and injures a number of people and “terrifies” the surrounding community should be called terrorism, because that’s exactly what it is.

How can the attacks on abortion clinics not be “terrorism” when they obviously are designed specifically to frighten doctors, nurses, and other health care workers into not getting involved in reproductive health care and women into not having abortions?

What is “Terrorism” and What Isn’t?

Mary Cassatt Mother nursing baby

Here’s the official explanation from NPR: Why the Planned Parenthood shooting isn’t legally referred to as ‘domestic terrorism.’

To some in the community, the attack resembled an act of domestic terrorism, sparking a debate over what to call Robert Lewis Dear’s rampage even before he was taken into custody.

But the legal system may not resolve that question.

Dear faces state charges of first-degree murder, and the federal criminal code has no specific, catchall charge for acts of domestic terrorism. That means federal prosecutors pursuing charges for ideologically motivated violence often turn to other statutes — such as those for firearms, explosives, hate crimes or murder — to cover offenses that could arguably be labeled as terror. The punishment may be the same, but generally without the branding more typically associated with international terrorism.

“There has long been some interest in defining acts of domestic terrorism as terrorism. It’s become quite a partisan issue,” said William Yeomans, an American University law fellow and former high-ranking official in the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

But given the number of laws already available to federal prosecutors, he added, “Whether it’s domestic terrorism or not, it doesn’t really matter.”

Mary Cassatt - Mother and Sara Admiring the Baby

Mary Cassatt – Mother and Sara Admiring the Baby

Well then the definition needs to be changed, because focusing only on acts by people of one particular religion–Islam–is going to lead to terrorist attacks against Muslims, whether they get the label “terrorism” from the FBI or not. Saying it doesn’t matter is just plain stupid. It matters.

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville:

I didn’t need to know a thing about Syed Rizwan Farook’s and Tashfeen Malik’s religious beliefs or political ideologies to know that this was an act of terrorism, because I fail to understand how we can legally define one or more people picking up weapons and opening fire on civilians as anythingbut an act of terror, irrespective of their reasons.

(Unless it happens in a war zone, in which case it is a war crime and an act of terror.)

And I have a real goddamn problem with the fact that it only became “officially” an act of terrorism once they were connected to a particular religion and particular ideology, but had it been another religion and another ideology, it just would have been the inexplicable actions of mad people.

This selective elevation to a terrorist act of only certain religions and ideologies is harmful. And the people it harms the most are those who broadly share identifying traits with the elevated terrorists.

Our government is being deeply hypocritical when it urges bigots not to blame all Muslims for acts of terror committed by Muslims, but refuses to identify as acts of terror the same sort of crimes committed, for the same ugly reasons, by Christians. If the government doesn’t want all Muslims smeared as terrorists, then it needs to stop limiting to Muslims its elevation to terrorism of religiously-motivated mass murder

Here’s another example. This white guy isn’t a threat to anyone, according to law enforcement.

Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt

Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt

NY Daily News: Police find 8,300 rounds of ammo, assault rifle and body armor in home of Long Island man who impersonated Air Marshal.

He had a fake federal air marshal ID in one pocket, a Ruger .380-caliber pistol in the other and was driving around Long Island with ballistic body armor and a loaded AR-15 assault rifle. He also had an arsenal of weapons at his gated home.

But don’t worry folks, Mark Vicars wasn’t a threat to anyone, Nassau County officials insisted Friday.

The amount of firepower is comparable to what terror couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik had during the massacre they committed Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif.

“At this time we don’t see any immediate threat to the public,” Nassau County Police Department spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun told reporters.

Seven illegal firearms, three high-capacity magazines and 8,300 rounds of ammunition were found in the 49-year-old’s SUV and Syosset home after an exhaustive search, police confirmed.

Yet cops don’t believe that Vicars was up to anything nefarious — except for masquerading as a federal agent.

“We don’t see any nexus to any terrorism at this time,” LeBrun said, adding that no anti-American literature or links to terrorism were found at his home.

Mother_Berthe holding her baby, Mary Cassett

Mother_Berthe holding her baby, Mary Cassett

This idiotic labeling situation must be remedied, and we need to pressure our elected representatives and the White House to get it done.

The Media Sucks

Anyway, the media clearly has forgotten about the people who were killed and injured by a fanatic in Colorado Springs, because they now have Muslim attackers and their families to examine in disgusting detail.

In their rush to get “scoops,” MSNBC forced their way (along with other reporters) into the apartment that was occupied by the two deceased shooters in the San Bernardino massacre and showed images of personal property and information belonging to family members on live TV.

Mashable: Journalists storm San Bernardino shooters’ apartment after landlord pries open door.

In a surreal scene, a swarm of local and national media entered the apartment where San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik lived after the landlord tore off a piece of plywood that was blocking the door.

News outlets, including MSNBC, BBC, CBS News and CNN, broadcast live scenes as reporters toting cameras and microphones pushed through the open door and reported from inside the apartment in Redlands, California.

One MSNBC reporter was seen examining items left on the suspects’ desk, at one point picking up a child-rearing book. CNN journalists described seeing driver’s licenses, social security cards and shredded documents inside the residence. A group of photographers zeroed in on a pile of papers that were laid out on a bed.

The Family, Mary Cassatt

The Family, Mary Cassatt

What the hell?!

Another camera crew panned over a crib; the couple had a 6-month-old daughter. A CNN correspondent picked up prayer beads.

It appeared that members of the public were inside the apartment as well. One man lingered holding a large soda. A child was seen wandering throughout the home. Another opened the refrigerator and peered inside.

MSNBC even showed ID cards and family photographs on camera. According to the landlord, he didn’t invite the media in. “They rushed,” he said. Fortunately, the FBI later said they had cleared the apartment and it was no longer an active crime scene.

Slate’s Justin Peters says that good reporters should grab opportunities like this one, but still had some harsh words for MSNBC.

MSNBC Was Right to Enter the Shooters’ Apartment. They did what good reporters do: poke around.

During the walk through the apartment, which producers said was opened to the media by the couple’s landlord, a NBC News reporter held up photos of unidentified children, a bank document, and a driver’s license on live television.

As MSNBC’s Kerry Sanders walked through the apartment, where police had earlier recovered 12 pipe bombs and more than 1,400 rounds of ammunition, he expressed disbelief that the killers would have toys and stuffed animals for their young child.

The apartment was crowded by camera crews and other journalists all digging through the home. Sanders eventually found a pile of family photos, including what appeared to be passport photos of an unidentified woman, which he promptly suggested were the first images of Malik seen by the public.

“I’m going to guess these are the photographs of Malik. So this is the first – this may be – OK,” he said on air. “But we don’t know. We don’t know if that’s her.”

Maternal Caress, Mary Cassatt

Maternal Caress, Mary Cassatt

WTF?!

Andrea Mitchell encouraged Sanders to hold one photo up and get a “tight shot” of other pictures, including a portrait of a woman in traditional dress, as Sanders continued to guess where and for what occasion the photos were taken.

“Let’s make sure we don’t see the children, let’s not show the child,” a clearly uncomfortable Mitchell eventually interjected. “Let’s cut away from that.”

In a bedroom where credit cards and IDs were shown spread out on a bed, the camera quickly zoomed in on a California driver’s license. MSNBC did not appear to blur out a woman’s personal details as Sanders read the name on the driver’s license.

I think I’m going to be sick. MSNBC “apologized” after it was too late to protect innocent children and other family members who were not involved in the shooting. TPM:

After MSNBC treated viewers on Friday to a live look inside the San Bernardino shooters’ apartment, the network said they “regret” showing photos of children and identification cards during the live broadcast.

While the apartment was thick with camera crews and journalists all rifling through Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeem Malik’s Redlands, California home, MSNBC was the most heavily criticized for its broadcast. NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders showed close-up photos of children and held up a women’s driver’s license during the live shot.

Read the statement at TPM if you’re interested.

I’ll add some more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?