Daily Check-In 11/15/2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Putin’s Chef DENIED

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed to the federal bench by Trump last year, rejected Concord’s claim that the allegations didn’t amount to a crime. The ruling means that the special counsel’s office can proceed with the prosecution.

Concord lawyer Eric Dubelier argued prosecutors didn’t accuse Concord of willfully violating U.S. laws, contending it showed a lack of criminal intent. The judge disagreed, stating it was enough that the indictment show that the company knew it was impairing the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission, Department of Justice or Department of State.

“Concord goes too far in asserting that the special counsel must also show that Concord knew with specificity ‘how the relevant laws described those functions,’” Friedrich said in her 32-page ruling. “At this stage, the government has alleged the requisite intent and no more is required.”

Concord is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose primary business is catering and who is known as “Putin’s chef.”

Unlike the Russian nationals, who didn’t respond to the charges, Concord hired a law firm and mounted an aggressive defense, questioning the legitimacy of the charges lodged by Mueller.

Looks like this case will continue along.

 

Meanwhile, in other court news…

Interesting.  Let’s check back in 10 days to see what happened that could cause them to ask for an extension.

 

Trump Scared Shitless

I’ve noticed a pattern to these events.  Trump rage tweets about something involving Mueller, trying to rile up the base.  Some big story comes out that distracts from this.  Down the line, we hear about some conversation or new piece of information that he found out about or his lawyers were involved in that kicked him in the head that day.

My guess is that this was the day he found out how truly, absolutely, positively, without a doubt fucked he is.  This is when he found out that his son is going to prison, his daughter is going to prison, his son-in-law is going to prison, his friends are going to prison, and he’s going to prison if he’s lucky.  He’s tried to think that he’s ahead of the game, but that’s no longer true in Trump World.  Either his little lackey saved his own neck and decided not to fuck with Mueller, or he gave Trump the info he could get, and it’s enough to show that Trump’s best bet is to try to flee the country.

Speaking of Tangerine Tojo’s lackey…

 

I knew this fuck-up was coming

President Donald Trump on Wednesday indicated during an interview that he tapped former US attorney Matthew Whitaker to replace then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in order to rein in the Russia investigation.

Speaking to The Daily Caller, Trump expanded on his thought process behind choosing Whitaker to take over as acting attorney general.

“Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man,” Trump said. “He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it.”

He added that he “heard it was a very strong opinion,” referring to the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel’s 20-page memo justifying Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

Reiterating that Whitaker is “somebody that’s very respected” — a claim that stands in contrast to many DOJ and FBI officials’ views of their new boss — Trump said he “knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions.”

The president then appeared to allude to the fact that he tapped Whitaker primarily to constrain the Russia investigation.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is an investigation that should have never been brought,” Trump told The Daily Caller. “It should have never been had … It’s an illegal investigation.”

He then tacked on: “And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, [the special counsel Robert Mueller] is not Senate confirmed.”

The admission is reminiscent of when Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt last year that he ousted then FBI director James Comey because of the Russia investigation.

Trump’s statement to Holt now makes up one of the central threads of Mueller’s investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice in the inquiry, and legal experts told INSIDER his admission to The Daily Caller could add another piece to Mueller’s probe.

“What is so unusual about Trump is that he publicly forecasts his motivation in a way that is self-defeating and self-incriminating,” Elie Honig, a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York who specialized in organized-crime cases, told INSIDER.

Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, echoed that assessment.

“The president’s knee-jerk pivot to talking about the Russia investigation when asked about Whitaker’s qualification is what poker players call a ‘tell,'” Cramer told INSIDER.

It was last Wednesday (Daily Check-In 11/07/2018) that Sessions quit and Trump named Whitaker as the Acting AG.  That day, I said the following:

This is a little league play, and Mueller is the New York Yankees. They have this wargammed out.

First, if at any point Trump so much breathes, implies, tweets, or says that he picked Whitaker to stop Mueller, then Whitaker becomes an accomplice in a Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. Whitaker then has the choice between trying to follow Trump’s orders, or follow the DOJ’s rules. If he does try to execute Trump’s wishes after Trump makes such a stupid statement, then his actions would have criminal intent.

I figured it was just a matter of time before Trump would admit to the world that he was thinking about the Russia Investigation and Mueller when he fired Sessions and hired Whitaker.

Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for him to fuck himself like this.  Then again, he has been moping about the midterm losses and getting his ass handed to him in the press over the rest of his fights, so it took him some time to open up his schedule enough for some self-sabotage.

 

Protecting Mueller

This isnt McConnell trying to be diplomatic or anything, or trying to avoid an unnecessary legal fight.  He’s trying to save his own shell.  He’s neck deep in this.  Don’t forget it.

 

JAss News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal, prosecutors inadvertently revealed in a recently unsealed court filing — a development that could significantly advance the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and have major implications for those who publish government secrets.

The disclosure came in a filing in a case unrelated to Assange. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, wrote that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” Later, Dwyer wrote the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

Dwyer is also assigned to the WikiLeaks case. People familiar with the matter said what Dwyer was disclosing was true, but unintentional.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, said, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Well, well, well.  What do we have here?

This is very interesting, and moves Julian Assange from the “Assumed Indicted” category to “Waiting to be indicted”, but what for exactly?  Are these charges related to Russia, or some of his other fuckery over the years?

Let’s look at the surrounding case.

The filing in the Eastern District of Virginia came Aug. 22 in a case that combines national security and sex trafficking. Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, 29, was charged with enticing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him and send him pornographic images of herself. But he was detained in part because he “has a substantial interest in terrorist acts,” according to the court filing.

His father-in-law, according to the filing, has been convicted of terrorist acts. The case involves previously classified information, according to government filings, and prosecutors plan to use information obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Kokayi was indicted last week and is set to be arraigned Friday morning.

The case had been sealed until early September, though by itself it attracted little notice. On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter — which first brought it to the attention of reporters.

I can’t find any decent info ok Kokayi in a quick Google search, but this is the first time I’ve seen his name brought up.  It’s likely he was interacting with or using Wikileaks for some of his research, and that’s how Julian Assange got pulled into this mess.  I don’t know his involvement in this case, but it was likely more than just hitting his home page.  When the DOJ looked for information on Assange, they found these sealed indictments in some database, it was mentioned in this sealed indictment.  When this document was being scrubbed, his name was missed.

Notice how on the previous legal docs I’ve hosted that people have had been called PERSON-1 or INDIVIDUAL-1?  That’s to protect people who haven’t yet been charged with a crime, or to protect victims or witnesses.  That’s part of the scrubbing process.  What happened here is someone likely missed Julian Assange’s name in this indictment and didn’t catch it until it two months later.

 

Rumor Mill Special: JAss and a Grand Jury

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

Whitaker

 

VETERANS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

Seriously, fuck this guy.  He allowed the personal details of a woman and her family to be posted on his site, then encouraged his readers to harass and attack them.  His actions crossed the line of free speech and entered into targeted assault.  His “free speech” defense ended when the first of his trolls followed his instructions and attacked them.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

#METOO

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

First and foremost, there is minimal correlation between treatable mental illness and violent crime. In a study of 235 mass shootings, only twenty-two percent of the perpetrators could be diagnosed as having any degree of mental illness, with no proven correlation between this diagnosis and the horrific crime committed.

Furthermore, less than one percent of gun homicides overall are committed by people with serious mental illness and there does not seem to be a higher rate of mental health issues in the United States compared to other nations, where rates of gun violence and mass shootings are exceedingly lower.

What is true, rather, is that grouping-suffering individuals with mental health concerns, already stigmatized by society and with poor access to care, with antisocial mass murderers only creates further stigma. Most important to note is that after years of commitment to improving “mental health” spouted by legislators after each mass shooting, there has been no real change to our health-care system or increase in access, with the majority of those with mental health issues not receiving treatment and for those actively seeking help, 1 in 5 still unable to obtain it . It is apparent, then, that the cry for mental health access is a calculated distraction to replace a proven solution with an unrelated issue.

When humanists, activists and especially physicians accept the false relationship between mental health and mass shootings, they perpetuate a lie that does a disservice to both causes. We, as doctors, must lead the way in rejecting this deception and promoting meaningful change on our own terms.

This is a public health crisis that extends well past the realm of the political and in which every doctor must have a voice. As physicians, we must encourage all citizens who are angry, heartbroken, afraid and caught in a cycle of never-ending grief to see past the “mental illness” ruse and demand that our media and politicians address the real causes of and solutions to horrific and preventable mass shootings.

We need better mental health care in this country, but it’s not the sole reason for shootings.  It’s an easy crutch, but most of the mass shooters aren’t crazy.  At least, not crazy enough to qualify as crazy.  The Parkland Shooter, the Vegas Shooter, the Pulse Shooter, and the Borderline Shooter were all not batshit-insane.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

What if your telephone company were allowed to:

-record all of your conversations -note who your friends, family, colleagues and other important people are -note all the keywords used in your conversations -note how many times you use certain keywords in your conversations -note who and what you’re talking about, and when

-assess your emotional state -track everywhere you go, even when you’re not using your phone -catalogue what your face looks like, and what your friends’ and family’s faces look like -assess your health and financial situation based on your conversations and who you call

-track all of the above information about your children

What if your phone company then: -took all of that information about you, and allowed really really bad people to have it -allowed those bad people to pretend they were someone you trust, and call you and trick you into going places and doing things

-allowed those bad people to get OTHER bad people find you. Bad people who want to do horrible things to you.

What if, when confronted, the phone company said that you were in control of 1. Your conversations – you could always opt to not talk to anyone 2. Your phone number 3. Whether or not your number’s in the phone book.

But the phone company continues to collect all of the above information with you, and continues to share it with really evil people.

Would you think the phone company needs to be held accountable? Would you think the phone company needs to be regulated?

Facebook and social media are the Wild F*ckin’ West. It doesn’t matter how many hoodies or shiny self-driving cars are part of the package. They’re operating in a lawless bubble. Remember that as our new, blue Congress is sworn in.

We need to address the problems of Social Media, starting with Facebook.  It’s ugly out there.  Europe is on the right path with their data protections, but we need more.

This sounds like a post for another time.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Apart from allowing more leeway in mandatory minimum sentences, the draft bill could:

  • Extend an Obama-era law that got rid of the sentencing differences between people carrying powder cocaine and crack-cocaine, since crack users often saw harsher sentences. The new bill could apply that law retroactively, which would affect thousands of crack-cocaine users already in prison serving lengthy sentences.
  • Lower sentencing under the federal “three strikes” laws, which 28 states have implemented from a life sentence to a maximum of 25 years in prison in some cases. The “three strikes” penalty punishes repeat offenders who commit two violent felonies and have one other felony conviction, regardless of its severity, from a federal or state court.
  • Better prepare people for life after prison by assessing their risks and needs, while also creating incentives to participate in job-training programs that could allow for earlier prison release and a chance at a job after they get out.
  • Outright ban the shackling of pregnant women behind bars, according to the New York Times, and work to ensure prisoners are placed in facilities closer to their families so they can have proper visitations.

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

CONGRESS

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Thursday.  Friday will be a bit of a holding pattern, waiting to see what’s going on with any possible indictments.  As of Friday 1PM EST, I haven’t heard anything yet.

The Assange thing was a bit of a surprise, but I wonder if those are indictments from before 2016.  Remember, Assange was up to some shit long before Russia in 2016.  That’s just when he pulled off the mask of being a “fighter for transparency” and revealed that he was a Russian shill.

If I get time this weekend, I’d like to write about how I would fix Social Media.  I have no clue where to start, but that’s never stopped me from spouting off my ideas before.  Sometimes they flesh out as I’m rambling.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 11/14/2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Six days before WikiLeaks began releasing Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone had a text message conversation with a friend about WikiLeaks, according to copies of phone records obtained exclusively by NBC News.

“Big news Wednesday,” the Stone pal, radio host Randy Credico, wrote on Oct. 1, 2016, according to the text messages provided by Stone. “Now pretend u don’t know me.”

“U died 5 years ago,” Stone replied.

“Great,” Credico wrote back. “Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”

But the text messages provided by Stone to NBC News show that Credico appeared to be providing regular updates to Stone on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s plans in the days before the hacked emails were released. In the texts, Credico told Stone he had insights into Assange’s plans through a longtime friend, who was also Assange’s lawyer, according to the text messages.

Reached Wednesday, Credico downplayed the text exchanges. “There’s absolutely nothing there that I had any knowledge of anything that Assange was going to do because I didn’t,” he told NBC News.

Stone’s lawyer Grant Smith said the messages vindicate his client.

“The texts provided to NBC News demonstrate that my client, Roger Stone, has been consistent for the past two years in his assertion that Randy Credico was the person who was providing him what limited information Mr. Stone had regarding WikiLeaks,” Smith said.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating whether Stone had any advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to publish Podesta’s emails, according to people familiar with the investigation. Nearly a dozen Stone associates have been summoned by Mueller to appear before his Washington grand jury, the sources said.

The text messages obtained by NBC News appear to show that Stone and Credico exchanged messages about Assange having damaging information about Clinton at least as early as Aug. 27, 2016. The texts show that at 6:07 p.m. that day, Credico wrote to Stone, “Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.”

We have now entered the “Eat their own” phase of the investigation. Credico will likely flip on Stone, Stone wants to bury Credico to keep that from happening, and Corsi’s sitting in the wings striking a deal with Mueller.

Remember that Politico think-piece from a couple of weeks ago, in which a former federal prosecutor wondered if President Donald Trump had already been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller and was secretly litigating that behind the scenes? One legal expert clearly told Law&Crime why that was a “bogus” idea. However, the identity of this person has remained elusive.

Just like that, though, the “mystery appellant” has returned to the stage — but they’re still hiding behind the curtain.

According to federal court records, this person challenging a subpoena filed a “sealed 6,487-word brief” with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Wednesday. Judge Beryl Howell is presiding over the case.

Remember this story from Daily Check-In 10/31/2018?  Looks like there’s a new and rather lengthy filing in this case.  The more I think about this, the more I think that this mystery guest isn’t Trump, but someone else.  Someone close to him during all of this, like Don McGahn.  If this were Trump, does anyone think for a second he would have bitched about this on Twitter yet?

 

1/ Mueller is investigating attempts by Roger Stone to intimidate Roger Credico, a radio personality Stone claims was his back channel to WikiLeaks. reports Mueller has asked about emails, text messages and online posts involving Stone and Credico.

2/ 18 U.S.C. 1512(b)(1) makes it a federal crime to use intimidation to influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of another person. To prove this crime, Mueller would need to prove that Stone used or attempted to use intimidation or to corruptly persuade Credico,

3/ He would also need to prove that Stone had the intent to influence, delay or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding. To prove Stone’s intent, Mueller could use all of Stone’s words and actions. That would include his emails and text messages.

4/ It would also include his verbal conversations with David Lugo, who quotes as saying that he testified before Mr. Mueller’s grand jury about a blog post Stone helped him draft that was harshly critical of Credico.

5/ It would not be enough to merely show that Stone tried to convince people to criticize Credico. The First Amendment broadly protects speech that is not intended to impede an investigation.

6/ This same activity by Stone could also be used as evidence of Stone’s intent or knowledge as to other potential crimes. His statements to others about Credico’s claims can be used against him regardless of whether they constituted witness intimidation.

7/ Credico was the witness who brought a comfort dog with him to the grand jury. While the standard for “intimidation” is whether a reasonable person would be intimidated, a jury could regard an attempt to intimidate Credico differently than an attempt to intimidate Comey. /end

This fits pretty well with the leak at the top of this section.  Stone is trying to attack Credico to either keep him from testifying against Stone or to discredit him when he does.

Let’s not forget that Roger Stone knew that Wikileaks was going to release hacked emails at least a week before it happened.  Roger was also in communication with Guccifer 2.0, which turned out to be Russian GRU.  At this point, witness intimidation is the least of his worries.

 

Fuck you, you turtle looking mother fucker.

This status report has an update to it from August.  Now it says that Rick Gates is helping on several ongoing investigations.

The defense they’re using is that if Russia did hack the DNC, it was a military operation, not a civilian one.  And they’re using this in court.

Holy dogshit, this is a big development here.

If this is the official story they’re going to go with, then ANY & ALL of their co-conspirators are now opened up to potential treason and espionage charges.  Anyone that helped the Russians with this hack at any point are now linked to an official military attack against the United States.  And the United States now has Russia on the record saying it was.

For anyone who wasn’t aware, the penalty for Espionage or Treason against the United States is Death.  Waving the death penalty in someone’s face is an easy way to get them to flip.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

I’m still waiting for more information to come out on this, but there’s something fishy going on.  Might have something to do with that putrid little piece of filth Jacob Wohl and his fraudulent company SureFire Intelligence ( Daily Check-In 10/30/2018 ) trying to claim credit about this.

There’s two things that I’m pretty sure about.  Either something happened and he’s being blustery as hell to dissuade the public from this, or it’s a setup and he’s going to unleash a firestorm on the person who attacked him.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

WHITAKER

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS 

 

#METOO

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

Fox News announced on Wednesday that it supports CNN’s efforts to restore Jim Acosta’s White House credential after the network filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration.

“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement.

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Wednesday.  I hate to be that guy saying “Something’s coming”, but at the time I’m writing this, Mueller’s grand jury has been in deliberations for three straight days, and Orange Twitler went off the rails this morning.  Even more than usual.

Let’s see what’s coming in the next couple days.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 11/13/2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

I’m still looking for more info on that last one, but two reasons why they might do this is if they’re no longer needed, or George is no longer their client.  Those might sound like the same thing, but there’s a difference.  If George was serving his sentence, then he might not need criminal attorneys.  If George did something stupid, wanted to do something stupid or illegal that they advised against, or he stopped paying them.  Knowing how stupid George is, I’ll bet on that option.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

This was the purpose of the visit – if not Mueller, then Mueller’s staff – though he was already on his way home by the time the ABC piece ran. No one could say what, specifically, he was talking to Mueller about – however, he brought his own lawyer along for the meeting. Was this the signing of the immunity agreement that the American media have long speculated could help bring down his old boss? Cockburn can’t say, though he does know that even before Mr Cohen came to Washington, he had racked up 80 hours of discussions with various prosecutors (more than the 50 hours that has been widely reported). Clearly he has a lot to get off his chest.

So the whiff of panic comes from the President’s Android phone when he tweets about the man he once trusted (allegedly) to do his dirty work. ‘If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!’ But what – if any of these allegations are proven – did the ‘dirty work’ consist of? Cohen has already admitted to breaching campaign finance rules by paying hush money to a porn ‘actress’, Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump. He says he did this at the direction of the man who would shortly be elected to the Presidency.

Wall Street Journal report on how this was done landed like a mortar bomb in the Rose Garden on Friday. The details are devastating. ‘What can you do to help my campaign’ the story has Trump asking David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer. Pecker was – it’s claimed – brought on board to help Cohen silence Stormy Daniels, and another woman, a former Playboy model called Karen McDougal. Trump asks Cohen: ‘So, what are we gonna pay…150?’ Cohen replies, ‘Yes’ to the payment of $150,000 to McDougal. There is, allegedly, a recording of this conversation.

There are rumors, too, of Trump mistresses paid to have abortions and kept quiet with non-disclosure agreements. One source tells Cockburn that there could be as many as eight such women. (Cockburn should point out that Trump has been the subject of rumors about secret abortions for years, and has admitted no such thing.) But this is more than merely sad and sordid: if any such payments were made while Trump was running for President, there could be new campaign finance violations, all felony offenses. Cohen was said to have handled all this. Cohen was also a vice-president of the Trump Organization and knows about how the secretive family business was conducted. This matters because state prosecutors in New York are now said to be looking again at how condos in Trump buildings were sold – not by Trump, but by his older children, Don Junior, Eric and Ivanka.

8 abortions?!  I’m waiting for the evangelicals to pull a muscle doing mental gymnastics to justify this.

President Trump was involved in approving the hush-money payments made to women who claimed to have had an affair with him, and directed the deals with his “fixer” Michael Cohen, according to an 80-page indictment prepared by federal prosecutors and seen by the Wall Street Journal.

The indictment would have been introduced if Cohen had pleaded not guilty to charges of violating tax and campaign finance laws for making those payments. Instead, Cohen pleaded guilty, with prosecutors penning a 22-page document that detailed many of his actions but did not directly use Trump’s name.

In an interview with the Journal late last month, Trump wouldn’t say whether he discussed the payments, made to model Karen McDougal and porn star Story Daniels, with Cohen during the campaign. The attorney’s office said they found evidence that proves otherwise — that he was involved in every step, which was made at his direction.

Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for the president, began distancing himself from the president over the summer before the guilty plea.

80 pages.  To put that in perspective, Bernie Madoff’s indictment was only 25 pages.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

Remember Ed Whelan?  He was one of Brett Kavanaugh’s defenders that made the crazy theory that it wasn’t Brett that Dr. Ford remembered, but someone else at the party. (Daily Check-In 09/21/2018)

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

If you use a Nazi symbol, you should be aware of what it means: the depravity, the torture, the industrialized slaughter of innocents. The world is forgetting. This thread is to remind us all. /1

This is but a brief overview of the Nazi horrors, which began as the fever dream of a single man, grew to dominate a continent, & nearly engulfed the world. All quotes are sourced from Shirer’s The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, which draws heavily from captured Nazi archives.

“Its inhabitants were kept for nearly half a year in dog kennels, urinals and in old baking houses. The dog kennels were three feet high, nine feet long, six feet wide.”

“Because of the corpses in the trainload of returning laborers a catastrophe might have occurred… Women gave birth to babies who were thrown out of the windows during the journey. Dying people lay in freight cars without straw, and one of the dead was thrown on the embankment.”

“It was particularly noted that when marching, for example, from railroad station to the camp, a rather large number of prisoners collapsed on the way from exhaustion, either dead or half dead… It cannot be prevented that the German people take notice of these occurrences.”

“At the bottom of the steps the guards loaded stones on the backs of these poor men and they had to carry them to the top. The first journey was made with stones weighing about sixty pounds and accompanied by blows… The second journey the stones were still heavier”…

“Whenever the poor wretches sank under their burden they were kicked and hit with a bludgeon… in the evening twenty-one bodies were strewn along the road. The twenty-six others died the following morning.”

“‘During the year you were chief of Einsatzgruppe D, how many men, women and children did your group kill?’ Ohlendorf, Harris later remembered, shrugged his shoulders and with only the slightest hesitation answered: ‘Ninety thousand.'”

“The Einsatz unit would enter a village or town and order the prominent Jewish citizens to call together all Jews for the purpose of ‘resettlement.’ They were requested to hand over their valuables and shortly before execution to surrender their outer clothing…”

“It was attempted to keep the span of time from the moment in which the victims knew what was about to happen to them until the time of their actual execution as short as possible.”

“…My foreman and I went directly to the pits. I heard rifle shots in quick succession from behind one of the earth mounds. The people who had got off the trucks—men, women and children of all ages—had to undress upon the order of an S.S. man, who carried a riding or dog whip.”

“They had to put down their clothes in fixed places, sorted according to shoes, top clothing and underclothing. I saw a heap of shoes of about 800 to 1,000 pairs, great piles of under-linen and clothing.”

“Without screaming or weeping these people undressed, stood around in family groups, kissed each other, said farewells and waited for a sign from another S.S. man, who stood near the pit, also with a whip in his hand… I heard no complaint or plea for mercy…”

“An old woman with snow-white hair was holding a one-year-old child in her arms and singing to it and tickling it. The child was cooing with delight. The parents were looking on with tears in their eyes.”

“The father was holding the hand of a boy about 10 years old & speaking to him softly; the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed to the sky, stroked his head and seemed to explain something to him. At that moment the S.S. man at the pit shouted something to his comrade.”

“The latter counted off about twenty persons and instructed them to go behind the earth mound… I well remember a girl, slim and with black hair, who, as she passed close to me, pointed to herself and said: ‘twenty-three years old.'”

“I walked around the mound and found myself confronted by a tremendous grave. People were closely wedged together and lying on top of each other so that only their heads were visible. Nearly all had blood running over their shoulders from their heads.”

“Some of the people were still moving. Some were lifting their arms and turning their heads to show that they were still alive. The pit was already two-thirds full. I estimated that it contained about a thousand people.”

“The people, completely naked, went down some steps & clambered over the heads of people lying there to the place to which the S.S. man directed them. They lay down in front of the dead or wounded people; some caressed those who were still alive & spoke to them in a low voice.”

“The next batch was approaching already. They went down into the pit, lined themselves up against the previous victims and were shot.”

“‘If the international Jewish financier should again succeed in plunging the nations into world war the result will be the annihilation of the Jewish race throughout Europe.’ This was a prophecy, Hitler said, & he repeated it five times verbatim in subsequent public utterances.”

“We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about a half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.”

“The gas chambers themselves & adjoining crematoria, viewed from a short distance, were not sinister-looking places at all; it was impossible to make them out for what they were. Over them were well-kept lawns with flower borders; the signs at the entrances merely said BATHS.”

“The unsuspecting Jews thought they were simply being taken to the baths for the delousing which was customary at all camps. And taken to the accompaniment of sweet music!”

“For there was light music. An orchestra of ‘young and pretty girls all dressed in white blouses and navy-blue skirts,’ as one survivor remembered, had been formed from among the inmates.”

“Once they were inside the “shower-room”—and perhaps this was the first moment that they may have suspected something was amiss, for as many as two thousand of them were packed into the chamber like sardines, making it difficult to take a bath—the massive door was slid shut.”

“Up above where the well-groomed lawn and flower beds almost concealed the mushroom-shaped lids of vents that ran up from the hall of death, orderlies stood ready to drop into them the amethyst-blue crystals of hydrogen cyanide, or Zyklon B…”

“Surviving prisoners watching from blocks nearby remembered how for a time the signal for the orderlies to pour the crystals down the vents was given by a Sergeant Moll. ‘Na, gib ihnen schon zu fressen’ (‘All right, give ’em something to chew on’), he would laugh.”

“Through heavy-glass portholes the executioners could watch what happened. The naked prisoners below would be looking up at the showers from which no water spouted or perhaps at the floor wondering why there were no drains. It took some moments for the gas to have much effect.”

It was then that they usually panicked, crowding away from the pipes and finally stampeding toward the huge metal door where, as Reitlinger puts it, ‘they piled up in one blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling each other even in death.'”

“Twenty or thirty minutes later when the huge mass of naked flesh had ceased to writhe, pumps drew out the poisonous air, the large door was opened and the men of the Sonderkommando took over.”

“Their first task was to remove the blood and defecations before dragging the clawing dead apart with nooses and hooks, the prelude to the ghastly search for gold and the removal of teeth and hair which were regarded by the Germans as strategic materials.”

“‘We submit to you the following valuables with the request for the best possible utilization.’ The list is long and itemized and includes 154 gold watches, 1,601 gold earrings, 132 diamond rings, 784 silver pocket watches and ‘160 diverse dentures, partly of gold.'”

“Professor Hirt did not want the skulls… already dead. His instructions: ‘Following.. the subsequently induced death of the Jew, whose head should not be damaged, the physician will sever the head from the body and will forward it… in a hermetically sealed tin can.'”

“With the help of a few S.S. men [Kramer continued] I stripped the women completely and shoved them into the gas chamber when they were stark naked. When the door closed they began to scream. I introduced a certain amount of salt through a tube… and observed through a peephole.”

“When the door closed they began to scream. I introduced a certain amount of salt through a tube… The women breathed for about half a minute before they fell to the floor. After I had turned on the ventilation I opened the door. I found the women lying lifeless on the floor.”

“He was asked by his interrogator what his feelings were at the time: ‘I had no feelings in carrying out these things because I had received an order to kill the eighty inmates in the way I already told you. That, by the way, was the way I was trained.”

“Not only skeletons but human skins were collected by the masters of the New Order… The skins of concentration camp prisoners, especially executed for this ghoulish purpose, had merely decorative value. They made, it was found, excellent lamp shades.”

“All prisoners with tattooing on them were ordered to report to the dispensary… [T]he ones with the best and most artistic specimens were killed by injections…. The desired pieces of tattooed skin were detached from the bodies and treated further.”

“The finished products were turned over to Koch’s wife, who had them fashioned into lamp shades, and other ornamental household articles. One piece of skin which apparently struck Frau Koch’s fancy had the words ‘Haensel and Gretel’ tattooed on it.”

For all those who minimize, excuse, downplay, or normalize the newly resurgent Nazis, know that this is where your actions lead. This is not about gestures or flags. This is about an ideology that if unchecked will re-enact it’s horrors right here in the United States.

These photographs are from the United States in 2018. One of these groups was recently invited to the White House. Remember what these people want to do. Stand firm. Resist.

[Photos redacted by author.  We’ve all seen a swastika and burning cross, so I feel no need to keep that in here.]

Yes, that was painful to read.  It’s supposed to be.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS 

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

Yesterday, 50+ countries signed onto a cybersecurity agreement meant (in part) to lay the groundwork for a “Digital Geneva Convention” that would establish international cyberwarfare/crime laws. *The US joined Russia, NK, China, & Iran in NOT signing it*

What’s the need? Current international law protecting civilians is founded on notions of state sovereignty & conventional warfare, but the digital environment doesn’t respect or abide by borders, and the info battlespace doesn’t separate state actors & combatants from civilians.

Just as the Geneva Convention specified rules of combat to protect civilians during wartime, the cybersecurity pact will define what is unacceptable, & provide a legal basis for punishing those who breach international rules & norms in the digital world. But we didn’t sign it…

If we can’t even agree on what constitutes cyberwarfare & cybercrime, we can’t hold violators accountable. Russia has already exploited the hell out of this grey zone, and our retreat in this area will give them a green light to keep doing it.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS

The amount of good will a First Lady is granted at the outset is immense. Even Melania despite her behavior from day one, had large numbers of Americans ready to defend her. But her behavior in recent months has used all that up. She’s being revealed for what she is.

She is another repulsive character from the Trump family of horrors. Hypocrite, birther, idiot, user, racist, degrader of her office, entitled symptom of everything worst about the oligarchy and her repugnant spouse, she is playing with fire.

The stories about her that have not been written but could be–about her past, about her personal life, about her legal dealings with her husband would not be the sympathetic interviews with her ladies who lunch friends in Manhattan. She is a symptom of Trumpism.

She is a manifestation of a pretty ugly side of American life. Hers is not the story of a hard-working immigrant made good. It is much darker than that and thanks to her behavior from the “I really don’t care” jacket to throwing her weight around in the White House…

…where it doesn’t belong, from her embrace of birtherism to her failure to actively reject the racism of her husband and his administration, from the stunning contrast between her own immigration story and that of her parents and child and the policies of this administration…

…she needs to know that the good will is now once and forever gone. She is just another member of the thug mob that has occupied our White House, as grotesque and offensive to anyone with decency as Bannon, Miller, Pence, Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr. or Trump himself.

We cannot be sure how she has earned her place in the White House. But we can certainly know to an absolute certainty how she earned our utter and unwavering contempt since she arrived. Her departure like that of her crime boss spouse cannot come soon enough.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

STUDENT LOANS

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

RUMOR MILL

Something I would like the Intelligence committees to start pushing social media on is efforts outside of the IRA to influence voters. Not only foreign efforts, but the efforts of every day US citizens to spread fake news or discourage voting or anything along those lines

This laser focus on the IRA alone leaves out the fact that all of these far-right circles on twitter and reddit and facebook do the same exact thing the Russians do without any consequence.

had /r/Hillaryforprison been ran by the IRA it would have been banned by now. had /r/the_donald been ran by the IRA it would have been banned b[y] now. had a lot of the far-right twitter trolls been ran by the IRA they would have been banned by now. Why a double standard?

 

That’s it for Tuesday.  It’s light on the editorializing because I am exhausted right now.  It’s not a great excuse, but it’s the one I’m running with.

The Rumor Mill is still abuzz with imminent activity, but nothing has launched yet.  I’ll keep everyone updated if and when something happens.  I don’t intend for that last sentence to sound like I doubt anything will happen.  I’m about 99% convinced that we’re on the edge of something historic.  What that something is, I’m not sure.  When it’s coming, I don’t know.  But, there’s a chance, a lingering doubt that always stays with me.  That’s what the “if” is for.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 11/12/2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

Former Republican Party Finance Co-Chair and convicted felon Michael Cohen traveled to Washington to meet with the Special Counselor’s team.

On a holiday.

That’s pretty weird.  Was this the only day that everyone was available?  Did some lawyers want to charge more for government holiday pay?

Or, is something big in the works?  Something so big that working on a federal holiday is worth it.

Stone and Corsi

THREAD: What does news that Roger Stone’s friend Jerome Corsi will be indicted for perjury tell us about the state of the Mueller investigation?

Renato Mariotti added,

Ken DilanianVerified account @KenDilanianNBC

BREAKING: Roger Stone pal Jerome Corsi tells my colleague @annaschecter that Mueller’s investigators informed Corsi about a week ago he will be indicted for perjury. “When they have your emails and phone records…they’re very good at the perjury trap,” he says.

1/ Over the past several months, it appeared that Mueller’s team was focusing on building a case against Roger Stone. Several of Stone’s associates were reportedly interviewed by Mueller’s team, including Corsi. Stone himself has publicly stated that he expects to be indicted.

2/ For that reason, many observers expected an indictment of Stone now that the midterm elections are over. Corsi was interviewed two months ago regarding his communications with Stone, which suggested that he could be a witness for Mueller in a case against Stone.

3/ Today’s news indicates that Corsi will *not* be a witness for Mueller against Stone and is not “flipping” against Stone. It suggests that, instead, Mueller believes Corsi lied in order to help himself or Stone.

4/ To bring a case against Corsi for making a false statement to federal agents (which is what the “perjury” charge would be if he did not testify before the grand jury), Mueller would need to prove that he did so knowingly and willfully.

5/ If Mueller does bring a charge against Corsi for making a false statement, it indicates that Mueller has evidence that directly contradicts Corsi’s statement and that there is evidence that would contradict any allegation that Corsi merely made a mistake or misremembered.

6/ Mueller’s decision to prosecute Corsi could mean that Corsi’s statement (if left unchallenged) would make it more difficult to bring a case against Stone by contradicting key evidence. That would help explain why Mueller is spending resources to indict Corsi.

7/ Alternatively, Mueller could believe he needs Corsi’s cooperation to indict Stone. Indicting Corsi could give him a strong incentive to flip on Stone. We should know soon. Typically, in a white collar case, the defense is notified not long before an indictment is sought. /end

Jerome Corsi, the supposed founder of the Birther movement and one of Roger Stone’s friends, is allegedly about to get indicted.  The only question is when.  Assuming that Corsi is telling the truth, I’d assume this was soon.

This is pretty weird to me, but in many white-collar cases, it’s considered polite to inform a target of an investigation that they will likely be indicted soon.  I assume they don’t do this to people who are immediate flight risks, as it would seem a bad idea to tell someone rich guy with a private jet that he’s about to be arrested and definitely shouldn’t flee to a country without an extradition treaty.

We’ve mentioned Corsi a few times before, starting with Daily Check-In 09/05/2018.  He’s a known associate of both Roger Stone and Alex Jones, and was one of the founders of the racist as fuck Birther movement.  For those lucky enough to not know what that was, this was the crackpot conspiracy theory that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States but in Kenya, and that his birth certificate, birth announcement, and all documentation surrounding his birth was faked as part of some vast government conspiracy to groom him to be the first black president.  Trump jumped on this shit in like 30 seconds, and all of the old white racists that couldn’t find a better reason to hate Obama and who watched too much Fox News or listened to too much Right Wing Media ate this up like mac and cheese.

It almost feels like something’s building.

RUMOR MILL SPECIAL: RADIO SILENCE

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K. Let’s sort it out. [THREAD]

1/ Two nights ago, Rupert Murdoch called on Mitch McConnell, after hours. Since then, two Fox News-related Twitter accounts have not tweeted.

2/ Trump fired Sessions on Wednesday, replacing him with human dildo/Putin collaborator Matt Whitaker. Sessions had asked to stay until Friday and was told to leave immediately. So there was clearly some urgency to install the dildo…er, puppet.

3/ The Democrats won the SHIT out of the Midterms. Come January, the House check on Trump will leave him so hobbled, he’ll be like the dude from Misery.

4/ Trump went to Paris, ostensibly for an Armistice Day centennial event. He skipped the event, and much of the dinner tonight, because of “weather,” which everyone seems to agree is a bullshit excuse.

5/ Tomorrow, Trump is meeting with Putin, who pwns him. There are reports of House Repubs in Paris, just there for no good reason.

6/ Whitaker has no authority as “acting AG.” Also, he’s been called “a crackpot” and “a fucking moron,” and he was a key player in a company that bilked veterans out of their savings. Trump CLEARLY picked him b/c he thinks Whitaker will help him cashier Mueller. WRONG!

7/ Junior thinks he’s going to be indicted any day now. With the election over, OSC is free to resume busting collaborators.

8/ Kushner is rumored to be cooperating with Mueller since last December.

9/ The WSJ broke a story saying Trump AUTHORIZED and DIRECTED the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and the Playboy model he’d boinked. That’s a felony, all by itself.

10/ New York AG has Trump’s longtime mob accountant under immunity, and the case will eventually take down ALL the Trumps, including Ivanka and Eric. Assets will be seized.

11/ Trump’s usual deflections are not working. He’s scared, literally holed up in a hotel room, waiting to meet with the man who pwns him…and could end him in the blink of an eye. The meeting will be recorded by every intel agency under the sun, BTW.

We are all impatient. We all want justice. We WILL get it. And then some. Soon. Be patient, stay frosty, and don’t lose faith. Shit is about to get VERY real. WE SHALL PREVAIL. [END]

 

Peculiar

I’ve waited a long time to use that gif.  It’s from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.  Responding to a weird call from a science station, the Enterprise runs into another Starfleet ship, the Reliant.  However, instead of the customary greetings, the Reliant runs silent.  What Kirk doesn’t know at this time is that the Reliant was taken over by his old nemesis Khan.  This is the moment that Kirk realizes that something ain’t right.  About 15 seconds later, the Reliant opens fire on the Enterprise.

I feel like we’ve finally reached the Damn Peculiar moment.  Let’s go over the events of the past week.

  • Democrats win the House. Daily Check-In 11/06/2018
  • Trump attacks the Press in an off the rails conference. Daily Check-In 11/07/2018
  • Jeff Sessions is told to quit, and a completely unqualified lackey is named as his replacement. Daily Check-In 11/07/2018
  • Protests start across the country, and news comes out Trump’s dragging his feet on submitting answers to Mueller about the Russian Investigation.  Also, Donnie Jr. is scared shitless about getting arrested. Daily Check-In 11/08/2018
  • Mueller’s team is running out of patience with Manafort. Daily Check-In 11/09/2018
  • The Wall Street Journal says that 36 people went on the record to say that Trump was heavily involved with the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal payoffs, and that the only reason his ass isn’t indicted right now is that he’s the President. Daily Check-In 11/09/2018
  • Fox News, Wikileaks, KimDotCom, and the National Enquirer all go radio silent.  Matt Drudge from the Drudge Report deletes ALL of his tweets.
  • Trump skips the centennial remembrance of the WW1 Armistice.  He claims bad weather, but that doesn’t stop anyone else but Putin.  Trump supposedly meets Putin while the rest of the world’s leaders are out doing their job.
  • Trump and Pence both skip going to Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day.  This is literally the easiest thing that a person can do to look presidential, but they both skip it.
  • The press is finally questioning whether or not he’s losing his mind.  SPOILER: He is.
  • Trump has allegedly locked himself in room like Howard Hughes.  Thanks for the image of his fat ass pissing in cans of Diet Coke with his mushroom shaped pecker, Tea Pain.
  • CYBERCOM releases examples of Russain Spyware for the world to see.
  • Rumors of legal proceedings continue to ramp up.

I don’t know exactly what is on the horizon, but stay frosty because I think something’s going to happen soon.  There are too many coincidences here for this to be coincidental.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

Veteran’s Day Observed

 

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Had a patient who was shot right in the belly. So much blood rushed out of his abdomen when we made our incision that it spilled all over the surgical field and onto the floor. We transfused as much blood as we could while removing his spleen. He didn’t make it. #ThisIsOurLane

I had another patient who got shot in the head. It was touch and go until her brainstem herniated. Her family was at her side when we took her off life support. She was an organ donor and she gave the gift of life to so many others despite having her own ripped away by a bullet.

Sometimes gun violence isn’t even intentional. On my first overnight call as a surgical intern, a nine-year-old girl was rushed into the trauma bay. It was the 4th of July and people were shooting their guns straight into the sky. X rays showed a bullet lodged in her back.

Every doctor of every medical specialty must deal with the heavy emotional and physical toll of mass shootings. This is not only our lane, but the lane of our patients and the lane of every single American who is sick of this out of control epidemic of gun violence.

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

One last point on the Tucker Carlson protest, you don’t wanna believe the protestors, why not go with the police version of events? Cause there is a police report. I’m gonna say that’s a more reliable source than Mr. Carlson. And it completely contradicts him. Here goes.

First, the police interacted w/ the protestors as they were leaving & they didn’t arrest anyone. They actually saw the person spray-paint the anarchist symbol on the driveway. The protestors were walking away slowly. Two walked with canes (yes). No one tried to run.

BTW there were 4 legal observers at this protest. People going to someone’s house to break in, don’t usually take legal observers.

The police talked to the protestors about not having a problem w/ them exercising their first amendment rights but that spray-painting the driveway was crossing the line. That was the issue.

If the police had received a frantic 911 call from Mrs. Carlson saying she was terrified, had locked herself in her pantry & people were trying to break into her house, there is no way that the police would have let the protestors go. They would have made arrests.

They would have sent so many squad cars to that location if she represented what was happening in that way. Police tend to over-react. They didn’t here. That tells me Mrs. Carlson did not call & say she was being terrorized.

In the police report, there is no mention whatsoever of any damage to the front door of Mr. Carlson’s residence. Not a scratch. This is consistent w/ protestors’ saying they simply knocked on the door and then left a placard resting on it before retreating to the street.

There is no mention in the police report of anyone chanting anything about pipe bombs or chanting any sort of threats against Mr. Carlson.

What the police appeared to be focused on was the spraying of the anarchist symbol on the driveway of the residence by one person. That was the extent of the property damage. That was the extent of the activity that could possibly be construed as unlawful.

Even when it was reported that the incident was being looked at as a hate crime, it appears that this was the focus of the investigation.

(How that could in any way be prosecuted as a hate crime is a subject for another day.)

What is of concern now is that, since there has been such misreporting to which unfortunately people on the left like @StephenAtHomehave given credence, there will be political pressure to bring criminal charges for activity that is not criminal.

I hope those people will take the time to reconsider and correct their misstatements.

I was at the protest outside Tucker Carlson’s house. Here’s what actually happened. – ThinkProgress

Oh, hey, let me add, I’m not one to point to the police as a credible source. I am a public defender, people. But they are a more credible source here than Tucker Carlson. I am also trying to beat the MAGA folks at their own game. Like, what, you don’t believe law enforcement?

P.S. And, yes, for those who have asked, I have a copy of the actual police report.

 

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

PRIESTS

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

EXCELSIOR!

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

I recommend checking this video out.  It helps lay out the cult-like mentality that many of Trump’s ardent supporters show.  It talks about shared group delusions, or the folly of many.  There’s a french term for it, but je ne no pas parler francais.

Ok, I only know un petite francais.  Enough to understand a Montreal Canadians hockey game, and if the word is close to the Spanish version, I can read it and guess the context as well.

Never underestimate Spicy.

 

That’s it for Monday.  I’m not sure what’s happening this week, but it feels like something different is going this week.  I can’t put my finger on it, but things feel… different.  We’re past the moratorium on screwing with the upcoming election, so Mueller’s team is free and clear to start putting bad people in jail.

Trump won’t go softly into the night.  He will fight and claw, destroying everything in his path to protect himself.  That includes burning down every institution around him.

Stay frosty, and keep your head on a swivel.  Shit’s about to get weird.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 11/09/2018

Friday, November 9, 2018 and the weekend

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

To get a sense of what prosecutors might be driving at, it’s useful to review the specific campaign finance charges Cohen pleaded guilty to back in August.

First was “causing an unlawful corporate contribution” to a federal campaign. Prosecutors alleged that Cohen “caused” AMI’s $150,000 payment to Karen McDougal, and that that violated the law because it was effectively a campaign contribution for Trump, in excess of the legal limit on what a corporation like AMI is permitted to give to a campaign.

Second was that Cohen made an “excessive campaign contribution” himself, by paying $130,000 to Stormy Daniels. This, too, was effectively a campaign contribution for Trump above what Cohen was permitted to give, prosecutors said.

Now, prosecutors have amassed evidence Trump — Cohen’s employer — was personally involved in and informed about both of these payments, and was encouraging Cohen to make them happen.

So it certainly seems that Trump himself may be vulnerable to similar charges, considering how involved he was in both of these payments.

But don’t expect him to be indicted anytime soon. Even before Whitaker arrived at the Justice Department, it was highly unlikely federal prosecutors would actually try to indict a sitting president — DOJ has long held that that can’t be done.

What the SDNY prosecutors’ next move will be, then, remains unclear. It’s possible they’d amass evidence on crimes committed by Trump, and leave it to Congress to decide what to do with that evidence. Trump could also theoretically be charged after he leaves office. But the Journal piece is a reminder that this investigation remains very much alive.

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

COLD WAR 2.0: VETERANS DAY EDITION

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM &WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS 

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

MICHELLE OBAMA

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

 

THINKING AHEAD

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

Indictments of Stone, a friend of the president since the 1970s, or worse Trump’s son and namesake, seem certain to push the White House into greater paroxysms of rage. What might happen then is anybody’s guess. Trump’s desperation to shut down the Mueller inquiry before it cuts very close to home is therefore understandable.

It’s also a fool’s errand. In truth, it’s far too late to shut the Special Counsel down altogether. Mueller and his staff, veterans of Beltway wars, were not surprised by this week’s events. They were prepared. Any efforts by Acting AG Whitaker to block indictments will go public quickly and throw Washington into deep crisis. For Trump, there are no exits or off-ramps left.

When Mueller informs the public of more indictments is an open question. That they are coming, however, is not. And there are lots of them. The Special Counsel has been at work for almost 18 months now. An Intelligence Community official who assisted the Special Counsel’s investigation told me this week that Team Mueller is holding “dozens of sealed indictments” of people associated with the president, his 2015-16 campaign, and his administration. “Nobody who’s close to the Russians is getting out of this,” said the IC official. When will those indictments start being unsealed? Watch this space.

Sadly, that didn’t happen.

 

That’s it for the last few days.  Like I said on Daily Check-In 11/08/2018, I was out for the last few days.  Surprisingly, all hell did not break loose.  Instead, a whole new hell opened up on the Stormy front.  36 sources went on the record for that story to say that Trump was intimately involved with the Daniels and McDougal cover-up.  36.  That’s a lot of fucking people to corroborate a story.

There’s a reason why that unless there’s some crazy stuff going on that the two top groupings are the Russian Investigation and the Cohen matters.  Ok, I cheat a bit and include all of the other lawsuits in the Cohen section, but Cohen’s investigation might be the one that brings Trump down faster.  It’s not his greatest threat, but it’s the closest.

My schedule should return to semi-normal this week.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

Daily Check-In 11/08/2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

No one is above the law.  No one.

Mueller’s team has begun writing its final report, multiple sources told CNN.

Before that happens, one of the major questions in the Russia investigation remains to be answered: What happens to Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser who has been at the center of a whirlwind of legal activity behind the scenes even during the election-related public quiet period by Mueller.

As recently as a month ago, Mueller asked Trump’s lawyers to produce call and visitor logs related to Stone from Trump Tower in New York, according to a source briefed on the matter. The request at this late stage of the investigation came as something of a surprise to lawyers involved, given that the Mueller team has been focused for months on Stone and his activities before the 2016 election.

Among the questions Mueller has asked the President to provide written responses on are queries about Stone and his communications with then-candidate Trump, according to a source briefed on the matter.

Expect the shit to hit the fan very soon.  As far as that request goes, remember when Paul Manafort flipped? (Daily Check-In 09/14/2018). In the last two months, he’s spent over 40 hours interviewing with the Special Counselor’s team.  My guess is Paulie Walnuts told them about Roger Stone visiting Trump Tower on certain dates, and gave them proof of the visits.

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

 

SCOTUS 

 

#METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

1/ Some observations on the Jim Acosta situation: I watched the exchange just moments after it happened, then sent out a tweet saying the woman who tried to get his microphone should be lose her job. Swiftly, I was hit with a bot-driven response.

2/ The responses, as you’d expect from bots, were strikingly similar. It was either “Acosta assaulted that woman” or “he karate chopped her arm.” (I thought the karate reference was odd, since nothing in the live video suggest such a motion. It’s also just a random word choice.)

3/ My mentions swiftly filled up with other MAGA accounts – maybe real, maybe more bots – parroting the same language. That soon became the narrative on the right: Acosta attacked that woman! Hours later, the White House released a statement making a similar allegation.

4/ The statement said Acosta placed “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” A few hours later, Sarah Sanders releases a doctored video that has been sped up so it looks like Acosta’s arm is moving in – you guessed it – a chopping motion.

5/ I bring this up because I happened to be tuned in to the whole evolution of this thing. It shows just how swiftly an absurd disinformation campaign can be set in motion and how willingly the White House embraces these campaigns and uses them to stir the pot.

6/ I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ponder whether this could all have been a set up. Personally, I don’t think this administration is clever enough for that. I think they just stumble into other people’s nonsense and roll with it if it helps them. But this should concern us.

7/ Both because this administration is a moral vacuum that will leverage disinformation – and disseminate it – without a second thought. And because we’re clearly in an age where an administration that’s both soulless AND clever could easily create untold chaos. END

8/ This thread has now become a column, with expert insight from Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who studies social media disinformation campaigns.

Absurd Acosta story shows how disinformation bubbles from bots to the White House – Chicago Tribune

 

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

Something that gets lost in the discussions about gerrymandering is that while it usually guarantees a certain number of seats for one party, it does so at the risk of getting blown out.  Here’s why.

Let’s say that a fictional city and surrounding area, like Gotham, have 10 representative districts.  Even though the city has most of the population for the area, the map was gerrymandered so that 80% of the population, mostly Democrats in the city were packed into 3 districts, and the remaining 7 are lightly populated but slightly above 50% Republican.  Under normal circumstances, the 3-7 math stays the same every year, especially at the beginning of the decade.

However, over time, some of the people living in the city move out to the suburbs, settling down out there.  Because of this, those 7 Republican districts go from 50% registered Republicans to only 40%, and it’s across the board.  Those 7 safe districts are no longer safe.

There are two main tools involved in the practice of gerrymandering.  Packing and Cracking.  Packing places those in one group in a small number of districts, while cracking splits them into several districts.  Utilizing both tools, a map can be drawn to completely neuter the majority in most cases.  Thing is, that packing and cracking can fail if there’s a demographic change over time, or a wave style election that overcomes the safety margin.  If each safe district is drawn with a +10% lean toward on party, the opposition would have to have more than that to win.  It’s like playing basketball to 50, but spotting the opponent 10 points at the start of the game.  If there’s a difference in talent or abilities, that 10 points can be overcome under special circumstances.

And it’s those demographic changes and special changes that are changing the politics around Dallas.

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

I’m cautious about getting too deep on this story for a few reasons.  Mostly, this article from Yahoo was the only piece I found on this even that didn’t come from the Right Wing Media.  A video surfaced on Twitter for a little while, but that was it.  It makes me wonder whether or not this actually happened, or if it was a planted story.

With Tucker Carlson, I don’t doubt he would do it at all.

 

That’s it for Thursday.  I’m on the road tomorrow.  I’ll try to keep up with some stuff, but when Donnie Jr., Roger Stone, or someone else gets indicted tomorrow morning, I’ll try to cover it when I get time.  In the meantime, I’ll wait for the alerts from WaPo and listen to some podcasts and audiobooks.  I’m about 8 hours into Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss, and I’ve got the Bag Man podcast from Rachel Maddow saved on the phone.  I can at least nerd out on the road.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

Daily Check-In 11/07/2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018.  The day after the election.

 

Yesterday, Daily Check-In 11/06/2018, I mentioned how things would get crazy, but I honestly thought that wouldn’t happen until at least Thursday or Friday.

Boy, was I wrong.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

Sessions Forced to Quit

 

Let’s all take a deep breath and look at this for what it is: a desperate, last minute attempt by an idiot mobster to make an investigation into him and his family disappear.

Trump is hoping that he can make this “Russia Thing” go away by firing Jeff Sessions and replacing him with a pick of his choice. Cute, but expected.

This is a little league play, and Mueller is the New York Yankees. They have this wargammed out.

First, if at any point Trump so much breathes, implies, tweets, or says that he picked Whitaker to stop Mueller, then Whitaker becomes an accomplice in a Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. Whitaker then has the choice between trying to follow Trump’s orders, or follow the DOJ’s rules. If he does try to execute Trump’s wishes after Trump makes such a stupid statement, then his actions would have criminal intent.

Second, notice how Mueller has outsourced so much work to other groups?  That’s to prevent everything from getting buried in the event of Mueller’s firing. Whenever a matter is investigated but not pursued, the attorney in charge has to go on record and explain why they’re not pursuing it for each case. While one corrupt lawyer might be able and willing to pull a Robert Bork, most of the U.S. Attorneys won’t do that.

Third, there are several Dead Man Switches built into this investigation. The best lawyers in the world spent the last year and a half planning for this contingency. The Special Counselor’s Office has instructions that in the event of the dismissal of the Special Counselor, then the Senior Assistant Special Counselors are free to pursue the investigations as they see fit. There are about half a dozen Assistant Special Counselors, all of them existing U.S. Attorneys from various jurisdictions around the country. This includes unsealing a whole crapload of indictments against EVERYONE.

Finally, don’t forget the states. When the indictments are unsealed, there will be talk of pardoning the family and the like. Pardon’s are a last ditch effort, and don’t work against state crimes.

The timing kind of sucks, but there are two more things to remember. First, if Mueller is fired before January 5th, the Senate Intel Committee will likely immediately hire him as their investigator. If he’s fired after that date, the House Intel Committee will hire Mueller.

This is a chickenshit move by Trump that reeks of desperation. If this is the opening move in his final play to kill the investigation, he has severely underestimated his opponents.

Supposedly, Jeff Sessions asked to stay on until Friday but was told no.  Coincidentally, Mueller’s grand jury meets on Friday.  Now, it could just be that Jeff doesn’t want to spend the next two days moping around his apartment, or he had some meeting that he wanted to go to, but there are too many coincidences for this to be a coincidence.

This does open up a lot of new avenues.  It’s been rumored for a while that Sessions flipped.  (I’m still looking for the related article, but this date was the first rumblings).  We know that he interviewed with Mueller a long while back (Daily Check-In 01/23/2018), but it wasn’t in front of a grand jury.  Jeff’s up to his neck in his own shenanigans, and Trump just fired him from his dream job with no sign of the loyalty that he showed him.  We know how well that worked with Michael Cohen (Daily Check-In 08/21/2018)

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

That pic was taken from a place off the normal tours.  Even the special tours don’t allow that kind of access.  This little Neo-nazi fuck had some special level of access.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

No, it’s not Jamal Khashoggi.

 

#METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

It’s on, mother fuckers.  5PM local time, check for locations.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Washington residents will face more scrutiny on the purchase of semiautomatic rifles.

Described by both supporters and opponents as one of the most sweeping new gun laws in the country, Initiative 1639 will put new restrictions on the sale of semiautomatic rifles and required guns that are kept in a home to be safely stored.

It was was easily passing Tuesday night despite opposition in many Eastern Washington counties. But it was narrowly passing in Spokane County with about 52 percent support.

Although the ballot title for the initiative refers to “semiautomatic assault rifles” the actual text of the measure makes no distinction between those rifles with certain military features like pistol grips or flash suppressors, and more standard hunting rifles.

So-called assault rifles – a general term for AR 15s and similar firearms that gun-rights advocates scoff at – have featured in many mass shootings, including the recent Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburg.

Starting in December, a buyer of any semiautomatic rifle will have to be 21, rather than the current age limit of 18, and pass a more thorough background check. Supporters said the change merely puts the rifles on par with handguns, which have similar requirements in Washington. Opponents said it’s unconstitutional age discrimination against people who are old enough to serve in the military, marry and sign contracts but won’t be able to buy a rifle that can fire a round each time the trigger is pulled. Single shot, bolt action and lever action rifles aren’t covered by the initiative.

Safe Schools Safe Communities, raised about $5.3 million overall with big donations from the late Paul Allen, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and his wife Leslie. The National Rifle Association backed an opposition campaign that raised about $600,000, and several other groups mounted smaller efforts.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

On the same day that Trump fires Sessions, he picks a fight with the press.  This is example #7,509 that Trump has no sense of long-term strategical thinking.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

You can’t always get what you want. But you get what you need: 1. The House. Big time victory overcoming geographic concentration plus gerrymandering, requiring Dem +8.5 margin. If we didn’t get past 218, the ACA and more would have been in huge trouble…

The House committees’ powers to subpoena, to hold public hearings, to hire Mueller if he is fired, then impeach. So Mueller has more job security than ever. (But GOP Senate wins are a reminder not to rush impeachment, and acknowledge that Senate 2/3 removal is not happening.)

The overall national House vote was around D +8.5. I worry about Trump’s re-election. I am less worried today. That solid D majority, much of it booming in the swing states Trump won, is a strong showing for 2020, and you can’t gerrymander it away. (But don’t take for granted)

4/ Look where Dems did well: the key 2020 battlegrounds. PA and Michigan swung back solidly. Wisconsin voted out Scott Walker (who had survived repeated recall attempts). Hillary’s purple states VA, NH, CO and NV stayed solid. Those 7 states are the road to victory.

Here’s the thing.  This election was a lot like Christmas.  We didn’t get the LEGO Millennium Falcon or the Tuxedo T-Shirt or Front row tickets to the Royal Rumble, but we did get the PS4, a bunch of games, aisle seats to the Rumble so we’ve got a good chance of high-fiving some wrestlers, and we got a stack of gift cards.

We got what we needed.  The rest was wishful thinking.

As my colleague Max Rosenthal explained, only a third of Senate seats come up for reelection every two years. Some of them run for office in states that are much more populous than others. This year, Republicans were also in luck because 26 of the 35 Senate seats up for election were held by Democrats. That means the GOP had much less to lose than the Democratic Party. On top of that, many of those previously Democratic-held seats were located in states where voters supported Trump in 2016.

So, even to preserve the status quo, Democrats would have had to win more voters overall than the Republicans did.

There are lot of screwed up things with American politics.  One of them is the selection of Senators.

Back in the day, in 1787, the Founding Fathers of the United States debated over how representation should be set up.  The smaller states, those with small populations, wanted each state to have an equal voice.  The larger states wanted representation based off of population.  Eventually, a compromise was reached so that both solutions would be used.  The House of Representatives would be based off of population, while the Senate would have equal numbers of people per state.  This was loosely modeled after the British Parliament, with the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  It was also decided that certain functions had to begin in different places.  Requests for money have to come from the House, while the Senate gives consent on appointments.

House members are up for election every two years, in even number years.  A senator serves a six year term.  It was decided a long time ago to have one third of the senators run for a new term every two years.  Since a President runs every 4 years, that means that every other senate race is at the same time as a presidential election.

From 1789 until 1911, Senators were appointed by the states.  This was changed with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which made Senators a position directly elected by the people of each state.  Before 1911, each state would select their own senators, usually by the state legislature choosing one of their own to send to Washington.  This caused some problems when the states couldn’t decide or agree.  Eventually, this amendment made it so that the people elected them directly.

In the event that a Senator is not able to complete their term, the state can choose a replacement until a special election is held to fill the vacancy.  Each state is a little different, but generally they’ll hold a special election to line up with an already scheduled election.

Now, to understand how it is that the Democrats could lose Senate seats while gaining a fuckton more votes, let’s look at who was running, and where.  There were 35 senate races yesterday.  33 regular ones and 2 special elections to fill seats that were vacated due to resignations.  Out of those 35, 26 of them were Democrats.  Remember when I said that a Senator serves 6 years but a President serves 4?  They run in years that are cleanly divisible by 4.  Or, for the computer programmers out there:

if Year mod 4 = 0 then Election(POTUS);

Sorry, my syntax sucks.  Mod is modulo, or the mathematical way of looking at the remainder of a division problem.  In this case, if the year is divisible by 4, then it’s a Presidential run.

So, it’s the 2018 election for these senators that were elected in 2012.  What happened in 2012?  Barack Obama won reelection, and a lot of Senators rode his coattails to victory.  In the six years since then, the political landscape has changed.  Several of those 26 senators are now running in states that voted for Trump in 2016.  There was nearly no room to improve, but so many ways they could lose.  They only way for the Democrats to gain a majority in the Senate would have been to hold each seat they had, and pull of at least a few upsets.

This was unlikely to happen.

However, things aren’t all doom and gloom.  Demographics are changing.  The Democrats picked up a decisive win in Nevada, were very close in some places that they shouldn’t have been close at all like Texas and Florida, and won seats in states that Trump won in 2016, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

As far as the 2020 Senate Map looks, it’s almost the opposite of this year’s.  Only 12 of the 33 seats up for reelection are held by Democrats, and only Alabama’s Doug Jones and Michigan’s Gary Peters are in a state that went for Trump.  Out of those 19 Republican senate seats, at least a dozen of them are in competitive locations.  Plus, we have no clue what will happen in the next two years, but a lot of it doesn’t look good for Team Red.

 

THINKING AHEAD

Yes, it’s time to start thinking about the future.  Fuck.

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

Just, don’t.  Ever. Propose. In. Public.

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for today.  The fucked up thing is, for the first time in a very, very long time, I felt relaxed after seeing the election results.  I had a hop to my step, I wasn’t stress eating, the pain in my chest was gone.  Things felt good for a few hours.

Then the Jeff Sessions news broke.  Then the pain returned.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate Jeff Sessions.  I don’t call him the Keebler Nazi as a term of endearment.  He is a racist little shit, and quite possibly the worst person to ever be Attorney General of the United States.  But, because of the importance of the Mueller investigation, keeping Sessions in place sort of guaranteed that nothing bad would happen.  That guarantee is gone.

The other thing that I saw that was completely nuts was the timing of this firing.  Literally, the day after the election, he fired his Attorney General for not protecting him.  This could have been orchestrated before, but why not do this before?  There was no evidence that firing him before the election would make a difference.  If anything, it might have galvanized Trump’s base a bit.  Sure, it might have cost the Republicans a few more seats in Congress, but not enough to risk a supermajority.  No, something else is up.

Remember over the last couple weeks all of those stories about Donnie Jr. and Roger Stone about to be indicted, and how they’re becoming concrete in the last few days? (Daily Check-In 11/05/2018,Daily Check-In 11/06/2018). I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some fire to that smoke and Trump is trying to end this investigation now because his son is about to get arrested.

Not only do I expect some shit to happen this week, I’m counting on it.  Mueller’s team has traditionally dropped indictments on Friday morning.  This weekend, I’ll be out of town on a trip.  I won’t have access to the internet most of the weekend, so I fully expect the fecal matter to strike the manual air circulation device.

I’m not a pessimist.  I’m optimistic that shit will go sideways at the worst possible moment.

We’ll get through this.  One thing I always try to do is when things get crazy, I look to the Rumor Mill and see how they’re reacting.  While everyone else is pulling their hair out, they’re cooler than the other side of the pillow.

We got this.  It just might not feel like it in the moment.

As I’ve said before, we will come through this crisis.  But we have to live through it first.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur