Republican Senators Say CIA Evidence Shows MBS Complicit in Khashoggi murder

Senators accuse Saudi crown prince of complicity in Khashoggi murder

Republican and Democratic senators emerged from a meeting with CIA chief Gina Haspel and basically accused Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and James Mattis of lying at worst or of deliberately refusing to admit the role that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

I think the jig may be up for MBS. He has his share of enemies in the kingdom and his actions over the past year haven’t made many friends. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s comments that MBS is a “wrecking ball” and “crazy” and that he will not support any more arms sales to the Saudis, adds a LOT more fuel to the fire.

Graham made clear that the crown prince’s involvement in the killing had caused a breach in the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and said the United States should come down on the government in Riyadh like “a ton of bricks.” He said he could no longer support arms sales to the Saudis as long as Mohammed was in charge.

“Saudi Arabia’s a strategic ally and the relationship is worth saving — but not at all costs,” Graham said.

Saudi heirs to the throne have been replaced in the past. It could happen again.

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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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Musings for November 30, 2018

Why America doesn’t win wars anymore (4:39 p.m.)

Dominic Tierney, a professor at Swarthmore College and the author of multiple books about how America wages war, may know the reason why.

“We’re still stuck in this view that war is like the Super Bowl: We meet on the field, both sides have uniforms, we score points, someone wins, and when the game ends you go home,” he told me. “That’s not what war is like now.”

Vladimir Putin And Saudi Crown Prince Pal Around At G20 Summit(4:13 p.m.)

How murderers greet each other.

Three Remarkable Things About Michael Cohen’s Plea (10:06 a.m.)
As the rest of the headline says, “These developments would, under normal circumstances, end a presidency.” Maybe it will. Maybe it will.

Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis rising from smoke and ashes is depicted in this enormous carving “etched” into the side of Stone Mountain. (By Bryce Edwards, Creative Commons)

The Costs of the Confederacy

An intriguing piece by of all people Smithsonian magazine on how much the Confederacy continues to cost the taxpayers of the United States. Tax dollars continue to support shrines, monuments, parks, and historical sites that honor these losers to the tune of over $40 million a year. And often at many of the sites, the people involved continue to spread the lie that the main cause of the Civil War was not slavery. It’s time we cut funding to these places and that school boards in the South stop using them to take schoolchildren on “educational” visits. I’m tired of this whole “heritage” argument. Honoring the Confederacy, and that pile of propagandistic rubbish known as “The Lost Cause,” is just another way of honoring white supremacy.

First, far from simply being markers of historic events and people, as proponents argue, these memorials were created and funded by Jim Crow governments to pay homage to a slave-owning society and to serve as blunt assertions of dominance over African-Americans.

Second, contrary to the claim that today’s objections to the monuments are merely the product of contemporary political correctness, they were actively opposed at the time, often by African-Americans, as instruments of white power.

Finally, Confederate monuments aren’t just heirlooms, the artifacts of a bygone era. Instead, American taxpayers are still heavily investing in these tributes today. We have found that, over the past ten years, taxpayers have directed at least $40 million to Confederate monuments—statues, homes, parks, museums, libraries and cemeteries—and to Confederate heritage organizations.

‘White supremacy’ is really about white degeneracy

From the Guardian, a piece on how far right white supremacists are reveling in the fact that they can be as morally contemptible as they want to be and yet still prevail. And as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States, and people like the Republican Steve Bannon are roaming the world spreading racism and bigotry, this attitude will probably continue to motivate those who believe in white supremacy. It’s why the rest of us who see these liars and racists as the phonies that they are need to speak out strongly every chance we get to shut them down.

But for millions of Americans to choose Trump and to continue to support him cannot simply be dismissed as voters “holding their noses” and selecting the individual who could best forward their agenda, regardless of his personal qualities. For a significant proportion of his supporters, it was a deliberate choice for moral degeneracy, even a celebration of it. It is also a reproach to the Obama years and to Obama personally. A bad white man will always be better than a good black man, regardless of the political platforms they support.

Trump is a moral degenerate in every sense of the word. And we need to call him on it at every opportunity.

‘They got me. I’m afraid.’: Swastikas spray-painted on a Jewish professor’s office at Columbia

You can look in any corner of America and see how the racism and bigotry of Donald Trump are infecting and inspiring anti-Semites and white supremacists to engage in acts that once would’ve been thought unthinkable. But it’s not just Trump. The entire Republican establishment has for years undermined any efforts by law enforcement or other groups to bring attention to the activities of these people. Republican politicians would hide behind “oh they’re picking on us” and refused to fund investigations by departments like Homeland Security into areas of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence. And you know why? Because if these governmental organizations were allowed to investigate these people, we would find nothing but far-right Republicans, Trump supporters, and members of the NRA.

Black People Don’t Get To Be ‘Good Guys With Guns’

In the past month, police murdered two African-Americans who were legally carrying handguns and attempting to help in troubling situations. That’s because for too many police in this country their first thought when they see an African-American with a gun is “shoot to kill.” Nevermind the situation, never mind trying to find out what’s going on, never mind if the African-American question is not pointing the gun at a police officer, never mind if the individual involved is actually following the orders of the police. Just shoot. And then issued a mealy-mouthed apology later that totally glosses over the blatant racism of the police officers involved.

There is no place in this country, no place, where African-Americans are safe from the brutality of the police.

GOP moves to dilute power of governor, AG, secretary of state

Yet one more sign that Republicans really don’t care about the will of the people, they just want power. Plain pure and simple. And they will do anything from changing laws, to suppressing voters, to putting their thumbs on the scales to make sure that they what the people want is ignored.

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Musings for November 29, 2018

Donald Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior in regards to the Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation shows that he knows the jig is up. He has done everything he can to undermine this investigation, including behaving in a manner absolutely abhorrent for a president of the United States. I think that’s what bothers me the most. There has never been an individual to hold the highest office in the land who worked so hard to degraded it, to defame it and make it look ridiculous.

Yes, his election was the will of the people (not all the people, he lost the popular vote by a few million ballots) but he triumphed fairly under the ridiculous electoral system that exists in the United States. But you know what? Sometimes people make the wrong decision and American voters made the wrong decision electing Donald Trump. He is, without any doubt, the worst president in the history of this great country. Not even a close call.

Mueller’s Steady Stream of Russia Revelations Is Driving Trump Crazy (4:59 PM)

Canada imposes sanctions on 17 Saudis over killing of journalist Khashoggi (8:27 p.m.)

Cowards. The evidence is there to name MBS. And Trudeau runs away from it.No better than Trump.

Any day now, this house of cards will come tumbling down.

For those who are wondering why Trump doesn’t just go ahead and pardon Manafort and the rest, or have his new thug Attorney General Matthew Whi
taker shut down Mueller, I suggest the answer is simple: Someone has gotten it through Trump’s head that such blatant moves will not prevent Mueller’s stories from getting out, not successfully protect all the president’s guilty men (and possibly women) from criminal exposure, and not necessarily be constitutional if the aim is to exchange pardons for silence. What Trump would succeed in doing instead is adding another chapter or two to still another Mueller true-crime tale, the one about obstruction of justice.

Investigators Raid Offices of President of U.S. Catholic Bishops (4:50 pm)

The Catholic Church has finally run out its string. After decades of lying, coverups, and moving pedophile priests around from parish to parish – not just in the United States but all around the world – it’s time to pay the piper. Time for priests and cardinals and archbishops who have abused children, or who have a have hidden abusers, to go to jail. For a long time.

Trump Is Wrecking the Constitution, the Presidency—and Now, Romaine Lettuce, Too (6:48 a.m.)

The daily antics of Donald Trump constantly leaves people gasping “It can’t get worse.” But it does, of course.

What we are missing, however, is the way that the Trump administration is dismantling important regulations brought in by Pres. Obama and past administrations designed to protect the air quality, the water quality, and the food supply in order to protect the health of Americans. This Romaine lettuce outbreak can be directly traced to the policies of the Trump administration. They don’t care if there is crap all over your Romaine lettuce. They just want to save their friends in big Agri a few bucks. If a few people die because of inadequate food production, well, so be it. There’s money to be made.

Trump-led GOP grows increasingly tolerant of racially divisive politics

Let me translate that headline for you. The Republican Party is becoming a party of racists and bigots and they don’t care about trying to hide it anymore. It’s been moving that way for half a century, since the development of the southern strategy under Richard Nixon.

Five years after the GOP produced a self-examination that called for reconciliation with minority voters, the party has grown increasingly tolerant of racially divisive politics, making its support base even whiter as potential minority voters and candidates are driven away.

The shift has been led by a president who in the final days of the Mississippi Senate race said the Democratic candidate, an African American who was born here to a well-known family, doesn’t “fit in.”

These efforts of course are being led by a man who has a well-known history of racism and bigotry throughout his life and doesn’t seem to care if people know it. The GOP has become the party of less-educated white people, primarily white males. It’s a shame really. In about 20 years or so, less than 50% of the American population will be white. And as college-educated whites move increasingly towards the Democrats, the GOP’s base shrinks and shrinks. No doubt more than a few Republicans will deny this trend, but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. A racist and bigoted duck.

Redskins ignore Colin Kaepernick, sign Reuben Foster and remind us of who they are

If you want to know something about American football, this story kind of sums it all up. The NFL makes a big deal about “defending the shield” and being solid, upright citizens in their communities. Well, maybe some teams fit this description. The Washington team does not. (I will not use their racist last name.) In a sense, the move by the Washington team to ignore a talented quarterback who protested racial injustice by the police and instead select a linebacker who has been accused of domestic abuse more than once, is a great reflection on where we are as a country right now. Basically, it’s okay to beat your partner but don’t you dare say anything bad about how the police treat black people in this country.

The Algorithms of August

Very good piece by Foreign Policy about how the US is losing the artificial intelligence race to countries like China and Canada. I hate to keep bringing us up, but this is another place where racism and bigotry are keeping the best people away from United States. Countries like Canada, which have a much more open door policy towards immigrants, are actively recruiting scientists who specialize in artificial intelligence research. The government has actually allocated millions of dollars to do so.

Since Trump has become president, however, with his incessant wars on both legal and illegal immigrants, scientists who might once have come and settled in the United States are now looking in other directions. Americans, for their part, failed to understand how stories about racism and bigotry in the United States resonate around the world. The Indian engineer who was murdered by a white racist in Kansas sent a shiver through the scientific communities of other nations around the world. Why come to the United States when you can go to a country that appreciate your talents and want you to settle there?

NRATV: Boys Should Be Trained To Charge At Active Shooters

Fortunately for all of us, the NRA is doing its very best to reduce its membership even more than it has in the past two years. If you want to find the epicenter of so much of the darkness that threatens to engulf the United States in the 21st century, you can begin that search at the NRA headquarters just outside Washington DC.

MSNBC declines to allow Sarah Sanders to dictate its programming

I know, MSNBC is seen as the left-wing counterpart of Fox News. It’s a bit disingenuous. Fox News programs like “Fox and Friends” or Sean Hannity’s Trump love-in or Tucker Carlson’s snoozer of a program regularly just make stuff up out of whole cloth, have never missed a chance to promote every conspiracy theory possible no matter how ridiculous or untrue, misuse videos to underscore their lies and make absolutely no attempt at fairness. There are times when I would accuse MSNBC of leaning too hard towards a liberal viewpoint but I would never accuse them of making stuff up.

And that is why I totally agree with their decision not to carry the Sarah Sanders lie-a-thon formally known as the White House press briefing. Ms. Sanders (or as I affectionately refer to her, Baghdad Bobbi) would no sooner be truthful during the press briefing than you would expect the sun to rise in the west. Sanders spreads misinformation like a farmer in Iowa spreads fertilizer on a corn field. So why bother covering it when you know everything that’s going to be said by Sanders is not true? I applaud their decision and I hope other media outlets do the same.

CA Dem Party Chair Takes Leave Of Absence Amid Misconduct Allegations

I read the other day how New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is taking a lot of friendly fire because of her position on the Al Franken resignation. She was one of the most outspoken voices of the need for Franken to resign. I thought that was the right call then and I think is the right call now.

I think this guy also needs to resign. This “leave of absence” nonsense is just so much horse manure. We are not talking about one person making this complaint. At least 10 women have come forward to talk about this man’s behavior. And while the Republicans have no problem nominating men who abuse women to the Supreme Court, the Democrats absolutely have to send a different message. This guy needs to resign and he needs to resign now.

Finally, for fans of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”…

Margaret Atwood announces The Handmaid’s Tale sequel, The Testaments

The novel ambiguously ended with Offred being placed in a van that will possibly deliver her to freedom outside Gilead. The novel’s epilogue is narrated by an academic giving a lecture about the authenticity of Offred’s story decades later, based on cassette tapes he had discovered in Maine.

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American musings for November 28

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith won the Senate runoff in Mississippi last night but it was a heck of a lot closer than people thought it would be. The day when an African-American Democrat would lose to a Republican by single digits in the state that is so Republican and so racist that it still has the Confederate flag in its state flag portends greater changes down the road.

I will make a prediction right here and right now. In two years Texas will go blue. This is especially the case if Beto O’Rourke is the Democratic nominee for president. The solid South has become the Purple South.

Trump Says He’s ‘Far Greater’ Than Reagan

I know Donald Trump is an egomaniac in public. His accomplishments are far below what most other sitting presidents (Republican or Democrat) have accomplished by their first two years in office but that never stops him from saying everything is the greatest, or the biggest, the best, yada, yada, yada. But if you ever needed more proof that Trump has verbal diarrhea it is his claim that he is actually greater than Ronald Reagan. Now, I’m no Reagan fan (my last name was misspelled for eight years when he was president) but I know he had some fairly major accomplishments. I could sense true conservative across America cringing as they read this report. Every time Trump opens his mouth he just shows how much of a snake oil salesman he is.

The NRA Just Reported Losing $55 Million in Income

Boo-hoo. And they would’ve lost even more money except that a single donor gave them $19 million. Membership in this domestic terrorist organization is definitely down. Let’s hope they just keep doing what they been doing for the last two years and that one day, like a puff of smoke, the NRA will just fade away like a bad dream.

What To Know About New York Judge’s Ruling Against The Trump Foundation

This is a little time bomb that is ticking away in Donald Trump’s background. Basically, the judge in the case ruled that it is totally allowable for a sitting president to be sued for activities that have nothing to do with his conduct in office. Basically, the Trump Foundation, which more or less operated as a charity organization for the benefit of one person, namely Donald Trump, “willfully and intentionally” engaged in serious misconduct. I also like the attempt by Trump to get the case switch to a federal court. (Gee, I wonder why? You would almost think he had a ringer in the Atty. Gen.’s Department.) That didn’t work either. If you pardon my language, this is going to to to be a huge shitstorm for the Trumps.

A Shadow Over Europe

This is a very good report from CNN about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, provoked by the far-right. Memories of the Holocaust are slowly fading away and about 1/4 of Europeans believe that Jews play “too big a role” in the world.

Before the midterm elections in the United States, a friend of mine asked on Facebook what we needed to do if we didn’t get a blue wave. Although we did, my answer was that it didn’t matter. This is not a one-time thing. This is a struggle that goes on all the time. The forces that desire to pull us back into a darker human past are never quiet, never still. If we relax for a moment, they will take that moment to push their agenda that much farther. It is a struggle that will never end and we just might as well face it. Our children and our children’s children will be fighting many of the same battles a hundred years from now. While we may be making progress in areas like racism, bigotry, misogyny, or homophobia, the far-right will always push back and try to take it all away.

Maybe They’re Just Bad People

But Trump is unique as a magnet for grifters, climbers and self-promoters, in part because decent people won’t associate with him. With the exception of national security professionals sticking around to stop Trump from blowing up the world, there are two kinds of people in the president’s orbit — the immoral and the amoral.

I’m glad someone in the mainstream media has finally said this out loud. The people who surround Donald Trump reminded me of the Obi-Wan quote from the first Star Wars:”You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” And for me the biggest villain is Stephen Miller. Drones like Sanders, Conway or Kelly are little more than Trump puppets. But Miller…If I was casting a horror movie and I need someone to play a soulless demon without any conscience and totally capable of any evil, I would just give the part to Miller right away. Call it typecasting.

The Dangers Junk Science of Vocal Risk Assessment

A great piece by the Intercept on a company who is trying to persuade corporate leaders in Washington that their software allows them to listen to people’s voices and detect if they are possible troublemakers. Almost every expert on the subject calls a totally bogus and even a dangerously misleading practice. The Trump administration is, of course, interested because totally bogus and dangerous misleading practices are kind of their thing.

Chancellor admits UK will be worse off under all Brexit scenarios

There is no good Brexit for the UK. The United Kingdom loses under every single scenario. It’s what we’ve all known from that first night when Britons allow themselves to be misled by a band of lying miscreants. Brexit is the “New Coke”of British politics. Well, they asked for and boy are they going to get it.

And finally…

The World’s Highest-Paid TV Hosts 2018

It’s not Ellen. It’s not Dr. Phil. Definitely not Dr. Oz. Not Steve Harvey or Ryan Seacrest.

It’s Judge Judy! Last year Americans favorite cranky judge made $137 million. Not only that but she has three times the audience of Sean Hannity. I daresay that if Judge Judy promoted a presidential candidate on her show, he would always guarantee him or her election.

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What’s happening in the US, November 27, 2018

Morning all.

An interesting day yesterday. The biggest story was probably General Motors announcement that would be closing several US plants along with one in Canada, reducing its overall workforce by 15,000 and generally downsizing as it moves toward more electric and autonomous cars. There was a lot of brouhaha from both Republicans and Democrats in Ohio and Michigan, not to mention Donald Trump trying to sound like Kaiser Wilhelm in his talks with the head of General Motors. Only to be expected.

There will only be more new stories like this, however, in the future. Technology is driving many sectors in the American economy, like automobiles, to face new realities. One of those realities is that people are not buying as many gas-guzzling automobiles as they were in the past.

Let me give you a personal example. Every now and then my 14-year-old Subaru needs to go to the shop for yet another repair. My neighbor across the street lets me borrow her car, an electric/gas hybrid, if I need to make a run for groceries or to take one of my kids to the doctor. On a good day, my Subaru manages about 22 miles to the gallon. Meanwhile, my friend’s car gets 58 miles to the gallon. And her car is about four years old. Newer models of hybrids or electric cars have only gotten better.

That’s why General Motors is closing several plants. People want cars that will give them 58 miles to the gallon. Not to mention someday the phrase “to the gallon” will have the same kind of cultural relevance as “buggy whip.” And Trump’s tariffs have an effect that creates a tipping point. But it was going to happen sooner or later. General Motors decision to concentrate more on autonomous and electric cars is a smart one. Not for politicians, but for consumers. Technology is here to stay. As my mother used to say, “it is what it is.”

Democrats Learn a Big Lesson for 2020 Vote About Taking on Trump

This interesting piece from Bloomberg. The point of the article is that one of the main things the Democrats learned from the 2018 midterms is don’t talk about Donald Trump. Focus on local issues. Yes, Trump will be out there blowing his own horn, rallying his base. But as the midterms proved, Democrats and Independents want to focus on getting things done. I think this will play an enormous role in deciding who will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020.

The case for Beto O’Rourke

Can you win a presidential election after losing another election? It seems unlikely but it has been done before. Richard Nixon lost both the presidential election to Kennedy in 1960 and then the election for California governor 1962. By 1968 he was president. I think it all depends on if it’s your “moment.” Barack Obama knew it was his moment in 2008. America was ready for what he had to offer. Beta O’Rourke came within 2% of defeating an incumbent Republican senator in what is one of the most Republican states in the union. (Or was.) This piece by a former Obama official argues that it may also be O’Rourke’s moment. I think he might be right.

Trump Suggests U.S. Create Network to Take on CNN

Sounds of guffaws and muffled laughter.

Trump says he doesn’t believe his administration’s climate report

Trumpet doesn’t believe in climate change. Trump doesn’t believe his intelligence services. Trump doesn’t believe the teargas affects children. Trump doesn’t believe that his tariff policies had anything to do with the General Motors plant closures in Ohio and Michigan. Trump doesn’t believe that he had anything to do with the Democratic wave in the 2018 midterms.

On the other hand, Trump does believe that Vladimir Putin knew nothing about Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. He believes that Mohammed bin Salmon, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, was “shocked, I say shocked” to hear the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And Trump believes that he is the only source of truth in American politics.

Need one say more?

U.S. ambassador to Israel says peace plan will come at “appropriate time”

It’s a punchline, right? What he really meant to say was the first of never. This “peace plan” has about as much chance of being successful as the Cleveland Browns have of winning this year’s Super Bowl.

Voter Suppression During the 2018 Midterm Elections

This just in…

While more people voted in the 2018 midterms than any other midterm in recent elections, millions of other Americans were denied the right to vote because of blatant attempts by Republican politicians to suppress the votes of minorities, college students and anybody else was on their hit list. Their cries of voter fraud have about as much credibility as a Lindsay Graham statement about protecting Jeff Sessions as Atty. Gen.

This is one reason why the runoff election for Secretary of State in Georgia is so important. Georgia Gov. elect Brian Kemp had been Secretary of State and without a doubt put his thumb on the scales to help his own election. This needs to be an office the Democrats focus on in future elections to make sure that everyone has the right to vote.

Study: Concealed Carry Leads to 15% Increase in Violent Crime

And this is why that domestic terrorist organization known as the National Rifle Association doesn’t want anybody to do any studies on gun violence in the United States. Because when studies are carried out they show that more guns mean more violence and more violent deaths.

Researchers ran several regressions analyzing 14 years of data in 11 states that have “right-to-carry” laws, seeing whether there was any movement in crime statistics after the adoption of these laws.

Turns out being able to carry a handgun spikes up crime in states: By the tenth year of these laws, violent crime was up between 13 and 15 percent.

Here’s a statistic I always like to quote. When Canada brought in more extensive gun control in the early 2000s the cry from gun rights advocates was”this means only criminals will have guns!” Well, Statistics Canada, the government’s official statistics agency, found that in the first four years after the legislation was introduced, the number of gun crimes committed in Canada dropped by 25%. When you make guns hard to get for law-abiding citizens, you also make them harder for criminals to get them.

Alabama Mall Cops Blame Shooting Victim for Holding Gun While Fleeing Active Shooter

“If you’re black and you’re a good guy with a gun,” Crump added, “the police [don’t] see you as a good guy. They see you as a criminal and they shoot and kill you.”

And since I like to end the daily news update on a positive note…

The Proud Boys Are Imploding
It couldn’t happen to a creepier, more violent, Trump-loving, idiotic bunch of guys. What these morons represent will not go away, but every now and then is nice to see how their inherent stupidity is exposed. Racist are naturally stupid. It’s a universal fact, like the sun coming up every morning.

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What’s happening in the Great White North, Monday, November 26

Since the name of this blog is My Two Countries I am going to try to write as much about my home and native land as I am about what is happening south of 49th parallel.

The red line crossed, Jamal Khashoggi’s life cannot be sacrificed for Canada’s economy

An opinion piece from the Globe and Mail that I strongly agree with. Germany has already halted sales of military weapons to Saudi Arabia. It’s time for Justin Trudeau to do the same. For someone who supposed to care so much about human rights, it is time for Trudeau to back up his words with some action. Mohammed bin Salmon is a murderer. I’m not naïve enough to think that Canada hasn’t done business with murderers before. But this murder was particularly egregious and sets a dangerous precedent. If MBS doesn’t learn that there are consequences to his temperamental fits of pique, other innocent people will die for nothing more than disagreeing with him.

Time to fish or cut bait, Mr. Trudeau.

GM to slash jobs and production, cancel some car models

Welcome to the 21st-century folks. And the death of the fossil-fueled car. This decision has numerous consequences for many people. On the one hand, there are the workers at the Oshawa plant and the many plants in the United States who will lose their jobs. But they are also the people who produce oil in Alberta or other places in the world. When one of the world’s largest automobile makers decides to close up several manufacturing plants in two countries because people aren’t buying fuel-powered cars like they used to, the canary in the coal mine is singing. An opera in fact. Bring on electric cars.

There has been a tendency among people to blame immigrants for “taking their jobs.” Immigrants aren’t the reason that people are losing their jobs. It’s technology. And it’s not going to stop happening.

“I talked to the president of GM last night. The first thing I said is, ‘What can we do? What do we have to do?'” Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters this morning. “And he said, ‘The ship has already left the dock.'”

When it comes to hazing, female athletes are just as vulnerable

I don’t like college sports. Particularly American college sports. Canadian college sports, on the other hand, tends to be far less oriented towards the almighty dollar than its US counterpart. That doesn’t make it any better in many ways. This report that two-thirds of all varsity athletes in Canada have been subject to hazing – and more women than men – is disappointing but not unexpected. I find the tribalism that goes along with being part of a college sports puzzling. I mean, who really cares? I sure as hell don’t.

Scientist refutes notion that gender identity is an ‘unscientific liberal ideology’

Okay, we all know that conservatives don’t believe in gender identity. They also don’t believe in climate change, a livable wage for workers and freedom of the press (if you listen to PC party leader and political screwball Andrew Scheer, who wants freedom of speech on college campuses – he says – but so much for the media). This is an interesting CBC interview with a prof from Queen’s University who has spent her career studying gender identity. This means that she knows of a hell of a lot more about the issue than conservative politicians.

Oh yeah, there was another thing I forgot to mention that conservatives don’t believe in: facts!

Stamps beat Redblacks 27-16 to win 2018 Grey Cup

When I was growing up as a kid in Ottawa many Saturdays about 300 other kids and I would crowd onto a bridge that overlooked the formally named Lansdowne Park and watch the old Russ Jackson-led Ottawa Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. To this day my brother, Jimmy, will not watch the NFL which he considers an inferior league to the CFL. Last night the latest edition of an Ottawa team, the strangely named Red Blacks, lost the Grey Cup to a team I am familiar with, the Calgary Stampeders. Oh well, maybe next year.

The Red Sox won the World Series – I don’t need anything else.

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