Musings, 12/02/2019 – Our witness tampering president

Is Donald Trump’s Tweet About Roger Stone Witness Tampering?
We all know that one of the worst things about Donald Trump’s presidency is the tweets. Presidential policy dispensed in 280 characters. Even Republicans in rural states who strongly support Trump have told the media they wish the president would lay off Twitter for a while.

Well, it turns out the tweets are not only annoying, but they may also be illegal. In this interesting piece written by Lawfair, a legal blog, the writers examine the issue of whether or not Trump’s tweets in August about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen and his tweet earlier this week about Roger Stone amount to witness tampering. They present a pretty strong case that it does. They also point out that the later comments by Roger Stone that Trump’s tweets don’t amount to witness tampering are in fact mistaken. And when it comes to legal matters, I wouldn’t trust Roger Stone or Donald Trump as far as I could throw them.

Facebook Lets Users Post About Killing Immigrants and Minorities

As you know I going through the final stages of leaving Facebook. While I appreciate the opportunity to reach out to friends and to speedily post articles about which I think are important for people to read, I could no longer justify continuing to support a company that engaged in so many possibly illegal and certainly distasteful practices.

And here is just one more example. Lots of far-right supporters of Donald Trump calling for his opponents to be shot or for members of the caravan approaching the US border to be shot. It’s not just that Facebook allows these hateful posts in to be made and remain online (so much for its new anti-hate speech technology) what really bothers me is that many of these posts are not being made by stereotypical right-wing weirdos but by police officers and people in positions of authority. And these cretins know Facebook won’t do much of anything to stop them from posting their vile and evil sentiments. Especially if they are white.

Like the Texas man, many of the hateful and violent comments came from white users. In 2017, ProPublica reported on internal Facebook documents that showed the company had an apparent bias toward protecting the speech of whites while flagging posts by black and other minority users.

Time to give up on Facebook. folks. The only way that Facebook will change is if millions of people leave.

Senior aides push back on Trump’s claim that China agreed to cut auto tariffs

It must be difficult to be an aide to Donald Trump in any capacity. Part of the job description has to include undoing presidential lies and overstatements. Because almost nothing Donald Trump says is actually true. Certainly not of the time that he says it.

Take, for example, his boast on Twitter that China was going to remove all tariffs on American auto imports. If it was true it would be quite an accomplishment. China imposes a 40% import duty on American autos. But sadly, as has been the case so many times in the past, it is not true.

Many of Trump’s top economic aides spent yesterday “pulling back” the president’s statement because no such agreement exists at the present time. And while these advisors tried to be as optimistic as possible and say it might happen, no one bothered to consult the Chinese who haven’t said anything about any kind of an auto agreement.

All politicians polish the apple a bit when it comes to their accomplishments. Trump polishes it so hard he makes it too slippery to pick up. In fact, most of the time he is trying to polish it when there’s no apple at all.

Canada punches ticket to 2019 FIBA World Cup with rout of Brazil

Well, a Canadian invented basketball. Why shouldn’t we be good at it?

So Canadians are responsible for two of the four major North American sports, hockey and basketball. And Canada’s McGill University is probably responsible for the beginnings of American football that we see today. While the first sort of football match was played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869, it wasn’t until Harvard played McGill in 1874, and then adopted McGill’s rugby-style rules that football as we know it began to take shape. The first Harvard-Yale game was in 1875, and after that game, Yale and Princeton both decided to switch to the McGill rules. It was then the great Walter Camp at Yale who improved on these rugby-style rules and introduced the notion of downs, the quarterback and the 11-man team.

But it was those crazy Canucks who laid the groundwork.

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A Supreme Court hearing that looks at the issue of double jeopardy from state and federal charges

Supreme Court to consider case that could affect potential Manafort prosecutions

Well, this looks interesting. The Supreme Court will look at the question of whether a person who is found innocent on federal charges or is pardoned of those charges by someone like Donald Trump, can then be charged a state court. Or does that violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy? This issue was originally raised by the world’s oddest bedfellows, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Clarence Thomas, two or three years ago. When these issues originally came in front of the Supreme Court in the mid-19th century, the Supreme Court said it was okay to file federal and state charges for the same crime (largely because slaveholders wanted to be able to charge people who were hiding slaves if they escape federal charges). It is relevant now of course around the issue of all the various people who work for Trump who face federal charges of various kinds. New York State, for instance, is interested in perhaps charging Paul Manafort with some of his financial crimes if Trump pardons him for the federal ones. The Supreme Court has actually allocated extra time for these arguments, so important is this case.

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Musings, 12/03/18 -Something smelly in Bladen Co., North Carolina

NC board again declines to certify Mark Harris victory as mail-in ballots questioned

On Friday, North Carolina state board of elections again declined to certify the victory of Republican Mark Harris over Democrat Dan McCready. That’s because there’s a real messy voter fraud issue brewing in Bladen County, which is encompassed in the area that Harris and McCready were battling over. Turns out somebody was doing something funny with absentee ballots that involved trying to trick minority members of the community.

In Bladen, Harris won 61 percent of the votes from mail-in ballots even though registered Republicans accounted for only 19 percent of the county’s accepted absentee ballots, an analysis by Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer showed. It was the only county in the district in which Harris won mail-in ballots.

Hmmmm. I wonder which party might be trying to trick minorities not to vote?

You know, Republicans talk again and again about voter fraud, and how people are trying to cheat the electoral system. We all know is just a way for them to try to keep minorities and other people from voting who would vote Democrat. Most of the cases of voter fraud I can find, the guilty parties were Republicans, not Democrats. This is just another example, maybe the most egregious in a long time. Maybe…

Mulroney to deliver eulogy for George H.W. Bush: ‘One of nature’s true gentlemen’

Apparently three years ago, George H. W. Bush asked former Canadian Prime Minister to deliver a eulogy at his funeral. Mulroney accepted. He will focus on Bush’s relations with Canada and the two important treaties he signed with the Great White North: the acid rain treaty and the original free-trade agreement. He will also talk on how Bush treated other nations, even small ones, with respect.

Can we talk a little truth about George H.W. Bush for a second? He was not a great president. Rather undistinguished in fact. Which is why he only won one term. Better than some, worse than others. But compared to the current occupant of the oval office, all former presidents look like Abraham Lincoln.

Wisconsin Republicans Seek to Hobble Democrats

Republicans are all in favor of democracy… Except when they don’t win. Then they try to pull every trick in the book to make sure that even though the people have said we don’t want Republicans in these particular positions, they continue to call the shots. Wisconsin Republicans seem to be particularly anti-democratic and eager to ignore the will of the people.

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Musings for December 2, 2018

For a Yazidi refugee in Canada, the trauma of ISIS triggers rare, terrifying seizures 1:35 p.m.

A fascinating piece from the Globe and Mail that talks about how Canada’s health care system is struggling to help people who have suffered terrible horrors from war. Not because the system is bad, but because Canadians have never seldom had to deal with these kinds of unspeakable horrors.

Yet another reason I hope we wipe ISIS from the face of the earth. Every last one of them.

Israeli PM Netanyahu Addresses Reporters | by U.S. Department of State

Police: Charge Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu With Bribery in Telecom Case (10:00 a.m.)

So, along with being a liar, a bigot, and a war criminal. Bibi should add alleged crook to his resume (for the third time).

The police and Israel Securities Authority on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as media mogul Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris, for bribery and other corruption charges in the investigation dubbed Case 4000.

This is the third case in which the police have recommended charging the prime minister with bribery. The statement recommending charges against Netanyahu in the case was published on the last day in office for Commissioner Roni Alsheich, who is stepping down after a three-year term.

CIA Intercepts Underpin Assessment Saudi Crown Prince Targeted Khashoggi

Despite the denials of Trump et al., that the CIA had no solid proof that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in anyway involved with the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the CIA has copies of the 11 texts that MBS sent to his aide, who was the leader of the Saudi killer squad, around the time the killing was taking place. It’s my guess they weren’ talking about the weather.

Cohen believed Trump would pardon him, but then things changed

Of all people, he should know have known that every second word out of Trump’s mouth is a lie. As is pointed out in this New York Times’ piece

“If the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has proved anything in his 18-month-long investigation — besides how intensely Russia meddled in an American presidential election — it is that Mr. Trump surrounded himself throughout 2016 and early 2017 with people to whom lying seemed to be second nature.”

“They lied to federal authorities even when they had lawyers advising them, even when the risk of getting caught was high and even when the consequences for them were dire.”

“Even more Trump associates are under investigation for the same offense. They are part of a group of people surrounding Mr. Trump — including some White House and cabinet officials — who contribute to a culture of bending, if not outright breaking, the truth, and whose leading exemplar is Mr. Trump himself.”

Playing high school football changes the teenage brain

I think football may be gone by the end of this century, if not before.

CNN Lets ‘Food Babe’ Spout Pseudoscience on Lettuce Outbreak

These so-called “experts” are a public nuisance more than anything else, and listening to some of them, like the woman who peddles Jilly Juice, can be hazardous to your health. But what really bothers me is that cable news networks like CNN that gives these people a public forum and treat them like experts. It is lazy, bloated journalism, plain, pure and simple.

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