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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 27 Nov , 2019 3:45 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1892
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/472202-two-omb-staffers-resigned-after-voicing-concerns-about-halted
Quote:
Two staffers for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) resigned after expressing frustrations about a hold on military assistance to Ukraine... Mark Sandy, an OMB staffer, testified this month that the two staffers, one of whom was in the legal division, had resigned partially due to frustrations with the unexplained aid freeze, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday.

Sandy recalled that one individual who resigned had "expressed some frustrations about not understanding the reason for the hold," according to the transcript, but he noted that he was "reluctant to speak to someone else's motivations."

He was also asked whether the OMB legal division employee said they were leaving "at least in part because of their concerns on frustrations about the hold on Ukraine security assistance."

"Yes, in terms of that process, in part," Sandy responded....

A senior administration official categorized the assertion that the two officials resigned in part over the aid freeze as false in an email to The Hill.

Sandy also testified that he believed President Trump had directed the hold on Ukraine aid....




Hard to believe anyone would be gullible and stupid enough to believe this:
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/472211-trump-vows-not-to-rename-thanksgiving-were-not-changing-it
Quote:
President Trump claimed at his rally Tuesday night ... "You know, some people want to change the name Thanksgiving," Trump told the crowd in Sunrise, Fla., without offering specifics. “They don’t want to use the term 'Thanksgiving.'”

“And that was true also with Christmas, but now everybody’s using Christmas again. Remember I said that?” he continued, echoing a common refrain from past rallies....

“Now we’re going to have do little work on Thanksgiving,” Trump said later in his remarks on Tuesday night. “People have different ideas why it shouldn’t be called Thanksgiving.” “But everybody in this room, I know, loves the name Thanksgiving, and we’re not changing it,” he added...


An interesting editorial, in that context:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/opinion/chernobyl-hbo-lies-trump.html
Quote:
I binge-watched HBO’s “Chernobyl” this week. It made me think of Donald Trump.

No, my Trump Derangement Syndrome has not spiked to 12,000 Roentgen on the ideological dosimeter. And no, I don’t think of the Trump administration as an open-air nuclear-reactor fire. To watch “Chernobyl” (and read nonfictionalized accounts of the tragedy) is to be reminded that such similes should be used sparingly.

But there’s one striking parallel. “Chernobyl” isn’t just an account of an environmental catastrophe, or the personal heroics that prevented it from becoming even worse. It illustrates what happens to societies corrupted by the institutionalization of lies and the concomitant destruction of trust....
Quote:
Middlebury’s Allison Stanger...quoted Hannah Arendt’s famous observation: “If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer.”

The result is that people lose the capacity to think for themselves, to make judgments, to find a rational basis for taking any sort of stand on principle. They become sheep....

On Tuesday, The Times’s Jeremy Peters published a profile of the conservative radio host Michael Savage, an early and fervent Trump supporter who occasionally voices his disappointment with the president, always from a right-wing perspective. Many of his 7.5 million listeners don’t take it too well. As Savage puts it, to “too many people” Trump is more than a human being, “he’s a demigod.”

Those people — the ones who brook no criticism of Trump, ever, on any subject — are the sheep.

That’s not anything like a majority of the country. But it is further poisoning a society in which the idea of truth was already being Balkanized (our truth), personalized (my truth), problematized (whose truth), and trivialized (your truth) — all before Trump came along and defined truth as whatever he can get away with....
Quote:
The most telling thing about The Post’s count of Trump’s untruths is how un-shocking it becomes as the number grows larger. Like money, lies are subject to an inflationary rule: The more there are in official circulation, the less each one matters.

Though I do disagree with the author in one thing - people in societies where the government lies to you don't necessarily become sheep. Many of them become skilled at finding out the truth in underground ways. But the lies are still harmful because they erode trust. And because the "truth" you find in underground ways may or not actually be the truth.




btw, it should be interesting how Trump supporters try to explain this:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-26/trump-denies-sending-rudy-giuliani-to-ukraine-for-biden-probe
Quote:
Donald Trump denied directing Rudy Giuliani to go to Ukraine to look for dirt on his political rivals, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

“No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior,” Trump told O’Reilly in an interview streamed on the internet on Tuesday....

Asked by O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump said “you have to ask that to Rudy.” “Rudy has other clients, other than me,” the president added. “He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years.”

So, what about that comment in your phone conversation with Zelenskyy, Dear Leader? You know, the one where you told him to coordinate with Giuliani and Barr...

Seriously, someone who thinks this poorly should not be making any decisions beyond what they want to have for lunch.



EDIT:
And, of course, the news they want to bury comes out late on the day before a long holiday. A new report from the DHS Inspector General finds that, before DHS implemented the family separation policy, they knew they didn't have the systems to reunite the families, but went ahead and did it anyway. And they expected to separate 26,000 children from their families, had there not been widespread condemnation that made them stop. Or at least mostly stop - reports suggest they're still doing it at lower levels and with "excuses." So it seems that the mess was not inadvertent or unexpected. They just plain didn't give a damn.
https://thehill.com/latino/472298-dhs-watchdog-administration-predicted-zero-tolerance-would-separate-26k-children
Quote:
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) internal watchdog found that the Trump administration predicted it would separate 26,000 children if its now-scrapped “zero tolerance” policy from last year had been allowed to continue. ...

The report also indicated that the administration lacked the technology to sufficiently track all of the separated children, leading it to have to revise an original estimate that 2,800 were separated to 3,014.

However, CBP kept the implemented policy despite knowing it could not effectively track the 26,000 children and thus eventually reunify the families....

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 03 Dec , 2019 6:07 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1892
It seems the people who called the Trump administration a banana republic are absolutely right. It looks like his pet attorney general intends to dispute at least one key finding of the IG report because it doesn't agree with the narrative Trump wants:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472720-barr-rejects-key-finding-in-report-on-russia-probe-report
Quote:
Attorney General William Barr is rejecting a key finding in the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the Russia probe, The Washington Post reported Monday.

People familiar with the matter told The Post that Barr said he does not agree with the report’s finding that the FBI had enough intelligence to initiate an investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016.

The long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to be made public in a week. But a draft is being discussed behind the scenes, and the attorney general reportedly is not persuaded that the FBI investigation was justified.

The draft report is now being finalized and shown to the witnesses and offices investigated by Horowitz....
At this point, I'm starting to wonder if Barr is also putting his fingerprints on this draft.

Of course, no matter what it says, this report can't invalidate the Mueller investigation, which found plenty to investigate and put some crooks in jail. It's just a weapon for Trump sycophants to muddy the waters around how it started. Which suggests they still fear the Mueller report and what else may come out of it.



Speaking of which:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472726-justice-dept-releases-another-round-of-summaries-from-mueller-probe
Quote:
The Department of Justice on Monday released a new collection of documents summarizing FBI interviews conducted as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's sweeping investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump....

The second batch of documents includes 295 pages of heavily redacted witness memoranda and notes from FBI interviews, CNN reported. The Justice Department is expected to release a new tranche of memos at the beginning of each month for the next eight years.

A summary of Cohen's interview sheds new light on efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow amid the 2016 campaign and how much Trump knew about the negotiations. ...

Cohen also alleged to the FBI that he told Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow that there was key information missing in a statement he was providing Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.

Sekulow said it was "not necessary to elaborate or include those details because the transaction did not take place." Per a summary of the interview, Sekulow also said that "Cohen should not contradict Trump and that it was time to move on." ...
There's no way the release of this information should take 8 years. I wouldn't be surprised if Barr wants to hide something until Trump is dead and gone.


The rest of Trump-related news is the usual stuff out of this garbage administration - Trump slapping new tariffs on all and sundry, trade talks with China falling apart again, Trump feuding with other world leaders and saying stupid stuff (it seems even Macron is no longer Trump's friend), him calling impeachment hearings unpatriotic and whatever else comes into his mind, the EPA continuing to make it easier for companies to pollute our neighborhoods (https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/472816-epa-proposes-rule-to-speed-up-disputed-industry-pollution-permits), etc.


btw, it seems Big Brother will now be watching anyone who leaves or enters the country, with facial recognition technology. They're handing this over to companies without enough restrictions on its misuse, too, IMO. :
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/department-of-homeland-security/472742-dhs-proposes-face-scans-for-all
Quote:
The Trump administration is proposing a new regulation that would require all travelers leaving or entering the U.S. to be photographed, citing safety concerns.

The proposal, which is set to be issued in July by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), aims to use face scans to track travelers — including U.S. citizens — as they come and go in the U.S., Reuters reports....
There's a public comment period, of course, as required by law, but this administration has always done whatever it pleased even when >90% of the comments opposed their plans so it's pretty much a sham IMO.


And the military continues its spending bonanza, while the federal deficit grows:
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/472758-us-navy-issues-massive-22-billion-order-for-nuclear-submarines
Quote:
US Navy issues massive $22 billion order for nuclear submarines





EDIT:

Hmmm,yet Trump claims Giuliani being in Ukraine had nothing to do with him...
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472878-phone-records-detail-extent-of-giuliani-white-house-contacts
Quote:
The House Intelligence Committee released phone records on Tuesday showing extensive communications between Rudy Giuliani and the White House, as well as several other key figures in the impeachment inquiry.

The phone logs revealed frequent contact between President Trump’s personal attorney and the Office of Management and Budget, as well as interactions involving top Intelligence Committee Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and John Solomon, a conservative columnist formerly with The Hill.

In one instance, on Aug. 8, Giuliani was in regular contact with the White House as other administration officials sought to finalize a meeting in Washington between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Giuiliani connected with the White House switchboard for roughly two minutes at about 12:45 p.m. that day and he exchanged texts with an unspecified White House phone number roughly 20 minutes later.

A phone number associated with the Office of Management and Budget connected with Giuliani’s phone at about 3:13 p.m. that day for a call that lasted 13 minutes, according to the records.

That evening, a caller from an unidentified number tried to reach Giuliani several times in the span of about 60 seconds. Minutes later, Giuliani phoned the White House switchboard and connected for 47 seconds, the records show.

About 16 minutes after that, the afternoon caller from an unidentified number connected with Giuliani for a call that lasted just over four minutes....



https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/472875-lev-parnass-attorney-devin-nunes-you-should-have-recused-yourself-in
Quote:
An attorney for Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, slammed House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Tuesday after it was revealed that the lawmaker had been in frequent contact with Giuliani, the White House, as well as Parnas himself....

Bondy's comments came after a report by the House Intelligence Committee released on Tuesday included phone records showing that Nunes had multiple contacts with figures personally involved in Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a potential 2020 rival.

"Devin Nunes, you should have recused yourself at the outset of the #HIC #ImpeachingHearings. #LetLevSpeak," Bondy tweeted....
Alas, that would have required Nunes actually have some ethics...
Probably too much to ask.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec , 2019 2:55 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1892
It sounds like Barr won't be happy with the Durham report either. I expect he and the other sycophants for King Donald will make a lot of noise about any mistakes individual agents made, but their main hope has been dashed. Then again, that should come as no surprise. This was a joke of a conspiracy theory in the first place and no one with a brain should have believed it.
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/473107-report-barr-attorney-cant-provide-evidence-trump-was-set-up-by-doj
Quote:
The attorney handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the probe into the Trump campaign and Russia's election interference has reportedly found no evidence to support claims from conservatives that the case was a setup by U.S. intelligence officials.

Sources told The Washington Post that John Durham, the U.S. attorney chosen by Barr to lead the investigation, told the Justice Department's inspector general (IG), who conducted his own probe, that he has found no evidence to support claims that a Maltese professor who spoke with former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was secretly a U.S. intelligence asset.

Allies of the president have claimed for months that the professor, Joseph Mifsud, who spoke with Papadopoulos about the possibility of obtaining Hillary Clinton's stolen emails, was actually an asset of U.S. intelligence agencies seeking to set up the Trump campaign on criminal charges....



So Trump was going to get us out of the endless wars in the Middle East? As always, Iran is their perpetual boogeyman. I guess Bolton's departure didn't change that.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/473078-trump-mulls-sending-additional-14000-troops-to-middle-east-report
Quote:
The Trump administration is looking into sending as many as 14,000 more troops, as well as dozens more ships and other equipment, to the Middle East in the face of a growing threat from Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported....

The administration began increasing numbers of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf in May, when Trump said he would deploy roughly 1,500 troops, a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to counter Iran's influence there.

A month later the Pentagon also announced that it would deploy 1,000 more troops to the same area to address “air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the region. ...

Then in September roughly 200 additional personnel as well as missile defense and radar equipment were sent to Saudi Arabia...




Meanwhile, Republicans have approved another unqualified judge to plague the courts for years to come. This one's a rabid partisan too from the sound of it. Susan Collins (Maine) couldn't stomach her. Unfortunately, all her Republican colleagues were loyal foot-soldiers for the evangelical cause of overturning the federal right to a safe medical abortion. Because, of course, that's all the anti-abortion crusaders can actually do. Their hopes of completely banning abortions are delusional, even in GOP-controlled states: there have always been back-alley abortions. And dead or infertile women as a result of that.
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/473098-senate-confirms-trump-pick-labeled-not-qualified-by-american-bar-association
Quote:
Senators voted 49-44 to approve Sarah Pitlyk's nomination to be a judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. ...

"Ms. Pitlyk defended a state law banning abortion at six weeks. She opposed the Affordable Care Act's coverage for contraception. ... Ms. Pitlyk has also filed multiple legal briefs that contain misinformation," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a floor speech....

Pitlyk — who serves as the special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm — told the National Catholic Register that "surrogacy is harmful to mothers and children, so it’s a practice society should not be enforcing."

She also defended Iowa's six-week abortion ban, which was subsequently struck down by a state court. ...

... Collins, in a statement explaining her decision to oppose Pitlyk, questioned if Trump's pick would be able to separate her personal views from the rulings she will make as a judge.

"My concern is not based on Ms. Pitlyk’s personal views on abortion or various medical decisions, which she has every right to hold. I do question, however, given her pattern of strident advocacy, whether she could put aside her personal views on these matters," Collins added.

Pitlyk was rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association, according to a memo sent to Judiciary Committee leadership. The outside group's standing committee said it "believes that Ms. Pitlyk does not have the requisite trial or litigation experience or its equivalent." ...



btw, "conservative law firm" is a euphemism for what the Thomas More Society does. In their own words:
https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/about/
Quote:
Mission

The Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends and fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society was forged out of necessity in 1997 in order to continue defending the historic N.O.W. v. Scheidler case. This nationwide class action lawsuit brought by the National Organization for Women against prominent pro-life leader Joseph Scheidler (among others) was a transparent attempt to gag pro-life activism at abortion clinics nationally through the blatant misuse of federal antitrust and racketeering statutes. Having decisively prevailed in N.O.W. v. Scheidler in the U.S. Supreme Court, 8-1 (2003) and 8-0 (2006), the Thomas More Society continues to litigate cutting-edge cases including:

Protecting the First Amendment rights of those who pray and counsel outside our nation’s abortion facilities
Defending laws that protect human life from conception to natural death
Ensuring the free expression of religion in the public square
Respecting family values

And now the people of Missouri have one of this religious group's lawyers on their federal courts.






btw, if anyone wants to know what Trump's current wife and the Trump supporters are making such a big fuss about, regarding the "insult" to Trump's son, it's that an impeachment witness used his name in an analogy:
https://www.businessinsider.com/melania-trump-impeachment-witness-son-barron-trump-should-be-ashamed-2019-12
Quote:
Pamela Karlan, a professor of public interest law at Stanford Law School, testified in a congressional hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, where she discussed the constitutional power of the president.

When asked by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to compare a king's conduct with President Donald Trump's, Karlan made a point to say that the president does not have the power to "do anything he wants" like a king does.

"So kings could do no wrong because the king's word was law," Karlan said during the hearing. "Contrary to what President Trump has said, Article 2 [of the Constitution] does not give him the power to do anything he wants.

"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron."

Melania's reaction:
Quote:
The First Lady reacted to Karlan's mention of her son's name via Twitter, saying the Stanford professor should be "ashamed" for her "very angry and obviously biased public pandering."


And Dr. Karlan actually made a point of apologizing for using that example. I believe it was even before Mrs. Trump had her little hissy fit.

And no, I don't feel the least bit ashamed of being snarky. I have sympathy for Melania Trump wanting to keep her son out of the limelight. But when she's this ridiculously overprotective and nasty herself, she reveals herself as a true Trump. It was just a damn example. Maybe not the best one to use, since it mocked Trump's autocratic tendencies. But it wasn't even directed at the kid, just a mild joke on his parents.

And given all Mrs. Trump's nude pictures in the media, she'd better grow a thicker skin. Because I'll bet Barron's classmates will have plenty to tease or torment him about on that front. Not to mention the things his dad does.

Of course, all this fuss could just be a deliberate distraction from what the impeachment witnesses actually said.* (Unbelievably, Trump's GOP defenders even entered Mrs. Trump's upset tweet into the official record of the impeachment hearings. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/live-blog/impeachment-hearing-live-updates-judiciary-committee-n1095001/ncrd1096196)
And the media aids and abets the Trump family's circus, as usual, even dignifying it with editorials in major news sources.


*For instance, this from Dr. Karlan:
Quote:
Everything I know about our Constitution and its values, and my review of the evidentiary record, tells me that when President Trump invited — indeed, demanded — foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country the republic to which we pledge allegiance. That demand constituted an abuse of power …

Based on the evidentiary record, what has happened in the case before you is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to “faithfully execute” the laws and to “protect and defend the Constitution.” The evidence reveals a President who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.




EDIT:
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/473152-pelosi-asks-nadler-to-proceed-with-drafting-articles-of-impeachment-against
Quote:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that the House will move forward with impeaching President Trump....

"The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution," Pelosi said in a televised address against a backdrop of American flags. "Our democracy is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act."
Personally, I wish they'd first pursued their subpoenas against Trump's crooked associates instead of letting Dear Leader defy them. But we'll see how this goes.


A couple of unrelated bits of news:

I was glad to see this:
https://thehill.com/policy/technology/473187-trump-administration-sued-for-requiring-foreigners-to-disclose-social-media
Quote:
The Trump administration was sued on Thursday over a controversial new policy requiring foreigners to share their social media accounts when they apply for U.S. visas.

The lawsuit, filed by civil liberties advocates representing two U.S.-based documentary filmmaking groups, alleges the administration is violating constitutional free speech rights and stripping away any semblance of online privacy in the name of vetting new entrants to the country, some of which already have strong ties to the U.S.

The plaintiffs are alleging the rule, which requires visa applicants to submit their social media handles across 20 online services to the U.S. government, has created a "far-reaching digital surveillance regime that enables the U.S. government to monitor visa applicants’ constitutionally protected speech and associations not just at the time they apply for visas, but even after they enter the United States." ...



And amused at this. I guess Trump and Kim are no longer best buddies? No wonder we don't hear much about North Korea from him, these days:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/473207-north-korea-takes-shot-at-trump-senility-of-a-dotard
Quote:
North Korea took a shot at President Trump after he announced at NATO meeting in London that the U.S. would use force against the regime if needed.

North Korea 1st Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hu said Thursday that her office could not “contain its displeasure” over the president’s comments, and added that if he continues, Trump “will again show the senility of a dotard,” USA Today reported....

I just hope Dear Leader doesn't turn this personal insult into an escalation of tensions with North Korea.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 06 Dec , 2019 12:06 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1892
This seems worth knowing about even though it seems completely possible that another administration would have made the same choice. The first article is slightly misleading - these devices were reauthorized (after questions were raised about their use), not authorized - but it gives the current news. The second one fills in some details and also gives a perspective on how at least one other civilized country sees this. The third one is outdated news but adds more detail.
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/473184-epa-authorizes-use-of-cyanide-bombs-to-protect-livestock-against-predators
Quote:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorized the use of "cyanide bombs" to protect livestock against wild animals on Thursday after adding additional safety requirements in response to backlash from environmental groups.

...The new restrictions require a 600-foot buffer around residences but make exceptions for landowners who have given permission for placement of the devices on their property. The restrictions also call for 300 feet, up from 100 feet, between public paths and roads where the devices cannot be used...

Collete Adkins, a conservation director at [the Center for Biological Diversity] said the EPA’s “appalling decision” to approve the "cyanide bombs" threatens people, pets and imperiled animals....Kelly Nokes, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, said the EPA "fails to meaningfully address the problem" with the updated restrictions.

The EPA maintains that the M-44 devices are a vital and effective tool for farmers to protect animals from wild predators....

The revised proposal is backed by some leaders of the livestock industry. “We sincerely appreciate [U.S. Department of Agriculture] and EPA working together to ensure livestock producers have access to effective predator control, while also increasing public awareness and transparency,” American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox said in a statement shared by the EPA....

“Livestock producers have to contend with predation of livestock on a daily basis and having access to every tool in the toolbox allows our ranchers to continue to protect the herd,” added Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-49292681
Quote:
The US government has approved the continued use of "cyanide bombs" to kill pests such as coyotes, foxes and dogs that live in the wild in America. It comes despite thousands of objections to the M-44 devices, which have killed more than just wild animals since they were first introduced.

They work by drawing animals with bait then spraying poison into their mouths.

But in 2017, a child was temporarily blinded and three pet dogs killed in two incidents in Idaho and Wyoming. The family of the child successfully sued the US government for $150,000 (£124,000) in 2018. One of the M-44 cyanide bombs had been placed near their backyard in Idaho....

In 2018, the US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to assess the use of the M-44 devices after a lawsuit was brought by four conservation and animal welfare groups in America. They've been in use since the 1960s.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 200,000 people wrote letters of objection to the M-44 devices during the 18-month assessment period. And the Centre for Biological Diversity says that 99.9% of responses to the EPA's proposal were in support of a ban.

But the EPA has decided they are still safe for use, after support from rancher groups and "stakeholders" including farmers groups....


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/us/cyanide-bombs-animals-trump-administration.html
Quote:
Predator Defense, a wildlife advocacy group, has been tracking human and pet injuries and fatalities caused by M-44s. In the past 30 years, Predator Defense documented one death, more than 10 human injuries and nearly 50 dogs killed by these devices.

In February 2018, Dennis Slaugh of Utah died after being poisoned 15 years earlier by an M-44, the group said. In March 2017, a teenager in Idaho watched his dog die after accidentally triggering a device near his home. In the same month, two dogs were killed in Wyoming during a family walk, according to Predator Defense.
They don't say why they attributed the human death to the cyanide bomb.
Quote:
Several states, however, have banned or limited the devices’ use, including Oregon, Idaho and Colorado.







I don't always fault CBP for deaths due to illness (at least when they take the right steps) but this one is appalling. And it looks like they lied to cover up their negligence.
https://thehill.com/latino/473265-teen-who-died-in-us-custody-was-not-properly-monitored-before-death-report
Quote:
Footage of a Guatemalan teen who died in U.S. custody in May contradicts official Border Patrol accounts of his death, according to ProPublica....Staff appears to overlook “increasingly obvious” signs his condition is deteriorating after initially presenting flu symptoms, according to ProPublica.

In the footage, Vasquez is seen writhing for nearly half an hour on the cell floor and a concrete bench before walking to the toilet and collapsing. He stayed in the same position for over four hours.

...The Border Patrol’s subject activity log says a Border Patrol agent checked on Vasquez three times in the early morning hours and reported no warning signs, ProPublica reports, but the video indicates his “agony was apparent” and that despite a CBP press release indicating agents discovered his body, it was in fact his cellmate.

Medical experts told ProPublica Vasquez should never have been sent to a cell rather than a hospital in the first place....

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 06 Dec , 2019 1:47 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1892
Trump's defenders just can't keep their stories straight, as more and more damning evidence comes out. :)
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473335-white-house-claims-no-one-from-omb-has-talked-to-giuliani-report
Quote:
The White House is saying that President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani did not speak with anyone at its Office of Management and Budget (OMB) days after the House Intelligence Committee released phone call logs that showed Giuliani connecting with an OMB number.

“No one from OMB has talked to Giuliani,” a presidential spokesperson told RealClearPolitics.

Giuliani also told CNN in a text message that he doesn't “remember calling OMB and not about military aid never knew anything about it.” ...

Giuliani said in a tweet earlier this week that the fact that he had made calls to the White House "does not establish any specific topic."

"Remember, I’m the President’s attorney," he added....


Though I suppose we should expect that after the "It was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election" weirdness from the GOP.



All the same, I'm uneasy about Nancy Pelosi's narrow focus on Ukraine and rush to conclude the impeachment investigation. This editorial in The Guardian put my feelings into words:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/06/nancy-pelosi-impeachment-inquiry-trump
Quote:
For months, Pelosi was reluctant to pursue impeachment, and even after being persuaded to open the inquiry, she has seemed weary and anxious of the political stakes of the process. It seems to have been Pelosi who dictated a narrow focus for the inquiry: the House intelligence committee focused only on the Ukraine affair and ignored evidence that emerged even in regards to that case, such as testimony and call records that indicate that the Republican ranking member, Devin Nunes, may have been a part of the very foreign pressure scheme that he was later tasked with investigating. And it seems to have been Pelosi who pushed for a rapid close of the inquiry and quick drafting of impeachment articles, even though a longer fact-finding process in the intelligence committee could have been useful to Democrats both on the investigative and political fronts.

Pelosi’s motivations appear to be political: fearful of losing her majority and fiercely protective of the more conservative members of her caucus, she has directed the impeachment proceeding to be as small, focused and palatable as possible, so as to placate moderate suburban voters and not to force her conservative members to take many difficult votes.

But by rushing impeachment, and focusing it so narrowly on only one of the president’s innumerable misdeeds, Pelosi may be making a grave political miscalculation, and wasting a precious opportunity for her party ahead of the 2020 presidential vote....

Quote:
Polls suggest that in the partisan media landscape, many voters’ opinions have already calcified, but it remains likely that a full and public accounting of Trump’s copious wrongdoing, broadcast on television and covered in detail by the media, could change minds in a way that an abrupt party-line vote on a narrow and esoteric set of issues might not.
Quote:
Perhaps more broadly, such a narrow and quick impeachment process risks being not only being politically wasteful for the Democrats, but cowardly as well. In the admittedly warped logic of American political messaging, to impeach Trump for only one of his myriad violations of ethics and law is to imply that all the rest of his behavior is acceptable.

The narrow impeachment inquiry, then, risks dangerously lowering the standards for future presidential conduct, and setting a precedent that Trump-style criminality and self-dealing are privileges of the office. The prospect of impeaching Trump for all of his impeachable misdeeds is daunting, simply because there are so many of them. But his misconduct cannot be ignored simply for the sake of political convenience.
Then again, I've never really thought Nancy Pelosi wanted to impeach Trump - his awfulness seems quite valuable to the Democrats in the coming elections. She seemed to be bowing to increasing pressure from other Democrats in Congress, the can of worms opened by the whistleblower (which revealed corrupt actions impossible even for her to ignore), and maybe the growing disgust and restiveness from independents and Republicans who voted for the Democrats in the midterm elections so they'd rein in Trump, but weren't seeing much happen.

I suppose we'll find out all the rest of it someday, including what John Bolton knows, what other calls got moved to the secret White House server, how Nunes and John Solomon were involved, what roles Pompeo and Rick Perry and Mulvaney played ...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 09 Dec , 2019 10:53 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1892
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/09/inspector-generals-report-russia-key-takeaways-079030
Quote:
Inspector general’s report on Russia probe: Key takeaways

Here are the major findings from IG Michael Horowitz’s review of the FBI’s handling of its investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016.
Quote:
A long-awaited review of how the FBI came to investigate the Trump campaign's possible links to Russia has validated the agency’s decision to open its probe.

The report, compiled by the Justice Department’s inspector general, stresses that political bias did not influence the bureau’s actions, as President Donald Trump and his allies have frequently alleged.

But the document is also littered with criticisms of FBI officials and how they vetted some information, such as a dossier of salacious allegations compiled by an ex-British spy.


We pored through the 434-page document and highlighted the most important revelations. Check back for updates.

Key takeaways from the report:

Jump to each takeaway by clicking the links below

The FBI did not use the Steele dossier to open Russia probe

Lynch, Comey sat for IG interviews

No evidence political bias was a factor

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were not decision-makers

Carter Page was the only Trump official under FISA surveillance

First Carter Page FISA contained ‘seven significant inaccuracies and omissions’

Steele dropped as FBI source after Mother Jones article

Steele had prior relationship with Ivanka Trump

Manafort was under investigation prior to Russia probe scrutiny

The FBI did not use the Steele dossier to open Russia probe...


btw, I very much doubt this will get much attention in right wing circles. ;)
Quote:
Trump has gone on obsessively about the Page-Strzok texts showing their concerns over him winning the White House. Monday’s IG report makes it clear that the FBI also had agents working with sources tied to the Russia probe who were excited about Trump’s victory.

The texts and instant messages were sent the day after Election Day 2016. A supervising agent volunteers to work on any special prosecutor probe into the Clinton Foundation and compares Trump’s win to “watching a Superbowl comeback.” Another FBI agent writes, “Trump!” A colleague replies, “Hahahah. Shit just got real.” And then they add in another message: “I saw a lot of scared MFers on…[my way to work] this morning. Start looking for new jobs fellas. Haha.”



What did our Dear Leader make of this?
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473731-trump-watchdog-report-shows-fbi-attempted-overthrow-of-government
Quote:
President Trump on Monday hailed a new report from the Justice Department inspector general, claiming it showed FBI officials attempted “an overthrow of government” by investigating his 2016 presidential campaign.

“This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it and they got caught, they got caught red-handed,” Trump said in the Cabinet Room at the White House during a roundtable event on education.

“I think I'm going to put this down as one of our great achievements. ..

Either he hasn't a clue or he's trying to mislead his supporters. Either way, he's a dangerous fool, playing with fire.



EDIT to add:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/473588-trump-brings-pardoned-soldiers-on-stage-at-florida-fundraiser-report
Quote:
Trump brought Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn and Army Lt. Clint Lorance, who he pardoned over cases involving war crimes, on stage at the Florida GOP’s annual Statesman’s Dinner, the newspaper reported citing six people who attended the event.

Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, was charged with murder in the death of an Afghan man during a deployment in the country in 2010. He had pleaded not guilty in the case.

Lorance was found guilty in 2013 or murder in the second degree for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle. He has served six years in the 19-year prison sentence he received for the charge. Pentagon leaders reportedly had privately opposed the controversial pardons....

The Miami Herald reported that the 1,000 attendees were asked to check their cell phones into individual locked cases and reporters were not allowed to attend the event which raised $3.5 million for the party.

The attendees that spoke to the Herald said Trump was a “total comedian” at the event, doing impressions of Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)...
Needless to say, there are no news reports that any Republicans at the event walked out after being asked to honor war criminals and watching our president mock his political rivals like a third grader ...



https://thehill.com/policy/international/europe/473640-nato-event-cancelled-after-us-ambassador-barred-trump-critic-from
Quote:
A NATO conference was canceled after the U.S. ambassador to Denmark barred a speaker critical of President Trump from participating, organizers said Monday.... The decision followed objection from U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands to one of the speakers, Stan Sloan.

...Sloan, a visiting professor at Middlebury College, fellow at the Atlantic Council and former CIA analyst, was known to be critical of Trump based on his social media posts. The council “never doubted,” however, that Sloan would deliver an “unpolitical and objective lecture,” Struwe said. ...

The U.S. Embassy in Denmark, in a series of tweets, said it’s “unfortunate” the organizers canceled the conference and said the embassy “supports freedom of speech.” ...




https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/473672-justice-argues-congress-cant-take-non-legislative-steps-against
Quote:
The Department of Justice argued before a federal appeals court on Monday that the only way for Congress to take action against President Trump over alleged violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause would be to pass legislation..

During oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, Hashim Moopan, an attorney with the Justice Department, said that a group of lawmakers suing Trump have no recourse other than legislation for taking action....

The courts are grappling with how to interpret the constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause...

The provision has largely gone unexamined by the courts over the past 230 years, but was revived in several cases against the president for not selling off his network of private businesses, including hotels frequented by foreign diplomats.

At least one judge appeared skeptical of the argument presented by Moopan, that essentially nobody has standing to sue the president over the constitutional provision....

“Here's what troubles me about your position,” said Tatel. “It seems to me that if you were right about standing — I'm not saying you are — it does raise the question of what is the remedy for alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause? And it seems to me one easy answer to that is congressional oversight. But you're resisting that in other cases. In other cases, you're saying congressional oversight is inappropriate. So I'm just wondering what is Congress to do in a case where it has reasons to think the Emoluments Clause is being violated?”...




https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/473749-trump-russian-foreign-minister-lavrov-to-meet-tuesday
Quote:
President Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday during the diplomat’s visit to Washington.

“President Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia tomorrow to discuss the state of the bilateral relationship,” a senior administration official told The Hill on Monday....

The visit will mark Lavrov’s first official visit to Washington since 2017. Trump made headlines when he allegedly shared classified information with Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting....

No word yet on whether Trump will allow any American note-takers. Or confiscate everyone's notes so no one will ever know what happened...




This was a very interesting reaction considering that Trump is usually the first to yell "Muslim terrorist!" whether or not there's any reason to think that's the case. Even in this case, when the targets were the military, normally a group Trump constantly praises. :
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/07/us/politics/trump-pensacola-saudi-arabia.html?
Quote:
When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: ...

Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia... On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that “they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word “terrorism.”

What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers...[

But even stranger, said Mr. Riedel, was “the president’s parroting of the Saudi line” before learning the results of an investigation into whether the gunman acted alone, or had allegiances to Al Qaeda or terrorist groups...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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