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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Journal Archives

Panel to Assess Climate Change as Security Threat


Panel to Assess Climate Change as Security Threat
February 20, 2019 at 8:09 am EST By Taegan Goddard

“The White House is working to assemble a panel to assess whether climate change poses a national security threat, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post, a conclusion that federal intelligence agencies have affirmed several times since President Trump took office.”

“The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security, which would be established by executive order, is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, has said that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 20, 2019, 09:29 AM (0 replies)

Sen. Whitehouse: There's a 'Crisis of Credibility' at the U.S. Supreme Court

Sen. Whitehouse: There's a 'Crisis of Credibility' at the U.S. Supreme Court
The Roberts Court has shown an "undeniable pattern of political allegiance," the U.S. senator from Rhode Island says.
By Sheldon Whitehouse | February 15, 2019 at 02:50 PM

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Chief Justice John Roberts declared last fall in response to President Trump’s jab at an “Obama judge.” In spite of my distaste for Trump’s attacks on our judiciary, on this one, the facts are with Trump.

As a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general, I have spent my share of time in the courtroom before state and federal judges whose commitment to neutral principles and fairness made even losing parties respect their decisions. Today, that confidence is undermined by the Roberts Court’s undeniable pattern of political allegiance. Under Roberts, justices appointed by Republican presidents have, with remarkable consistency, delivered rulings that advantage big corporate and special interests that are, in turn, the political lifeblood of the Republican Party. The “Roberts Five” are causing a crisis of credibility that is rippling through the entire judiciary.

Several decisions have been particularly flagrant and notorious: Citizens United v. FEC wrongly held that unlimited special-interest spending couldn’t corrupt, or even appear to corrupt, American politics, unleashing torrents of corruption and public disdain. Shelby County v. Holder wrongly declared racism over, disabling key sections of the Voting Rights Act and prompting a surge of racist state voting legislation. District of Columbia v. Heller elevated as constitutional doctrine a Second Amendment argument once described by a former chief justice as a “fraud.” After a bald invitation from a Republican appointee, right-wing lawyers rushed to lose cases in lower courts so a friendly Supreme Court majority could deliver a blow to the labor movement in Janus v. AFSCME.

Dig a bit, and a pattern emerges far worse than just that handful of bad decisions. Since Roberts ascended to chief justice in 2006, the court’s bare 5-4 majority of Republican appointees has delivered such rulings not three or four times, not even a dozen or two dozen times, but 73 times in civil cases. There are 79 5-4 decisions with no Democratic appointee joining the majority since Roberts became chief justice; and 73 of them implicate issues important to powerful Republican political interests. The score in those 73 cases for the big Republican interests is 73-0. On this Republican judicial romp, the Roberts Five have been cavalier with any doctrine, precedent or congressional finding that gets in their way.

The 73 decisions fall into four categories: First are decisions to help the Republican Party and its donors in politics, suppressing votes, buying influence, sowing fear, and gerrymandering. Second are decisions that make it harder for regulators and juries to hold corporations accountable. Powerful interests muscle their way around Congress; they hate uncaptured government regulators and courtrooms where they have to be equal before the law. Third are decisions to restrict civil rights and condone discrimination, reflecting the worldview that corporations know best, that courts have no business remedying historical discrimination and that views and experiences outside the white, male, Christian mainstream of the Republican Party merit lower legal standing. Fourth are decisions that have given straight-up political victories to the right-wing base on issues like abortion, guns and religion—achieving by judicial fiat what Republicans couldn’t accomplish through the legislative process.

The court’s so-called conservatives often abandon conservative judicial principles to reach the desired outcome. Republican appointees routinely assure senators at their confirmation hearings that they will simply “call balls and strikes,” and “follow the law of judicial precedent.” Yet doctrines about modesty, stare decisis and respect for the judgment of elected majorities evaporate in these cases. Even the pet doctrine of originalism is ignored when inconvenient. These decisions are only conservative in that they benefit powerful conservative interests.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 20, 2019, 09:18 AM (28 replies)

Emails Reveal Coordination Between Chao, McConnell

Can this be legal??


Emails Reveal Coordination Between Chao, McConnell
February 19, 2019 at 7:45 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

“A trove of more than 800 pages of emails sheds new light on the working relationship between Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the most potent power couples in Washington — including their dealings with McConnell supporters from their home state of Kentucky,” Politico reports.

“Chao has met at least 10 times with politicians and business leaders from the state in response to requests from McConnell’s office… In some cases, those people later received what they were hoping for from Chao’s department, including infrastructure grants, the designation of an interstate highway and assistance in getting state funds for a highway project — although the documents don’t indicate the meetings led to those outcomes.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 20, 2019, 07:05 AM (4 replies)

CNN Staffers 'Demoralized' by Hiring of GOP Operative Sarah Isgur to Edit 2020 Coverage

CNN Staffers ‘Demoralized’ by Hiring of GOP Operative Sarah Isgur to Edit 2020 Coverage

The former Jeff Sessions flack has zero journalistic experience and yet she is tasked with guiding CNN’s 2020 reporting. CNN staffers and media critics alike are not pleased.
Maxwell Tani
02.19.19 5:47 PM ET

CNN staffers are upset and confused about the network’s decision to hire a partisan political operative to oversee its 2020 campaign reporting.

On Tuesday, a CNN spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the network has hired Republican political adviser Sarah Isgur as the politics editor helming CNN’s 2020 coverage. The move was first reported by Politico.

Throughout her decade-long career in Republican politics, Isgur has served as an adviser to Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney, and was Carly Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager for the 2016 Republican primary. Until last year, Isgur was a top spokesperson for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice.

A CNN spokesperson said Isgur will not be involved in the network’s DOJ coverage, but will guide TV and digital coverage of the 2020 election, occasionally offering on-screen analysis.

The hiring was met with a negative internal reaction, especially because many CNN staffers have been largely left in the dark on the controversial decision. While other marquee hires are often announced internally, as of Tuesday afternoon the company has not circulated any guidance to staff about Isgur’s new role, leading employees to wonder how much of a role she will have in day-to-day political reporting.

“It’s extremely demoralizing for everyone here,” one network editorial staffer told The Daily Beast.

“People are generally confused,” another editorial employee said, adding that the decision to hire a partisan operative for an editorial position comes off as “very bizarre.”


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Feb 20, 2019, 06:52 AM (32 replies)

The Newsroom: Aaron Sorkin's HBO series could be returning to cover Trump years, says Olivia Munn

The Newsroom: Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series could be returning to cover Trump years, says Olivia Munn
The show, which chronicled the behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel, ended in 2014 after three seasons

Clarisse Loughrey

Olivia Munn has hinted that The Newsroom could be returning to TV screens.

The HBO series, which chronicled the behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel, ended in 2014 after three seasons.

Alongside Munn, who played economist Sloan Sabbith, the series featured Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, Alison Pill, and Thomas Sadoski.

Munn told Entertainment Tonight: ”Tom Sadoski and myself, we’ve actually been having conversations with Sorkin about that. He’s very busy, but we have very high hopes that it would be able to come together, hopefully.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 19, 2019, 11:48 PM (4 replies)

Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump

Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump
Nathan Robinson
When it comes to beating Trump, the Vermont senator is the person for the job. Nobody else comes close
Tue 19 Feb 2019 15.23 EST
Last modified on Tue 19 Feb 2019 21.52 EST

Now that Bernie Sanders is officially in the 2020 presidential race, it’s time to face the obvious truth: not only can he beat Donald Trump, he is also a better candidate to do so than any of the other current Democratic contenders.

At a critical moment when the left needs to unify in order to end Trump’s reign of cruelty and ineptitude, Sanders is the person for the job. Nobody else comes close.

For the last two years, Sanders has been setting the Democratic party policy agenda. His 2016 candidacy entirely shifted the political landscape, to the point where the majority of Democrats now view Democratic socialism favorably. Medicare for All and universal free college are so popular that they have almost become litmus tests for prospective candidates. In polls, Sanders is well ahead of the other currently declared candidates, and at this point he should be treated as the presumptive frontrunner.

Ironically given his age, Sanders has been embraced by millennials – even millennial women preferred Sanders over Clinton. The face of the young left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a veteran of the first Sanders campaign. It makes sense. Young people have a sense of urgency about the future: we don’t want to live in a “neo-feudal” world in which corporations tell cities what to do, nor do we want to live on a ruined planet. We want our children and grandchildren never to have to worry about being unable to afford medical care. We want their public schools to be well-funded and their cities to be above water. We also want to be able to afford to have children in the first place.

The reasons that people on the left should support Sanders are obvious. Since his earliest days getting arrested for protesting segregation, Sanders has shown a firm commitment to advancing a progressive agenda. He’s someone we can trust: he has been “on message” for four decades, sounding pretty much the same over decades of speeches. He’s not someone whose ideals seem to have emerged conveniently just in time for their presidential campaign.

But even those who do not share Democratic socialist instincts should get behind Sanders. He’s a pragmatic choice. Nobody is better positioned to take on Donald Trump. Sanders has name recognition and widespread popularity. He knows how to campaign well, has a network of organizers, and can pack stadiums. He does well at town halls and in debates against Republicans.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 19, 2019, 11:43 PM (37 replies)

Robert Reich: Dictator Trump


Dictator Trump
Robert Reich
February 19, 2019
The threat to American democracy has never been more pronounced.

A president who claims he has an absolute right to declare a national emergency and spend government funds that Congress has explicitly refused to appropriate for the ends he seeks, is assuming the role of a dictator.

A president who shuts down government in order to get his way on a controversial issue, such as building a wall along the border with Mexico, and offers to reopen it as a concession when and if his opponents give in, is treating the government of the United States as a bargaining chip. This, too, is the behavior of a dictator.

As is spouting lies over what Trump terms an “undeniable crisis” at the southern U.S. border, which is in fact no crisis at all.

Donald Trump is violating the Constitution. He is negating our system of government based on the rule of law. He is violating a president’s core responsibility to protect American democracy.


We also know that since he was elected, Trump has done little or nothing to stop Putin from continuing to try to undermine our democracy. To the contrary, Trump has obstructed inquiries into Russian meddling, and gone out of his way to keep his communications with Putin secret, even from his own White House.

He has also done exactly what Putin has wanted him to do—threaten to pull out of NATO, pull out of Syria, and accept Russia’s presence in Ukraine.

Perhaps Trump’s current attack on American democracy through his assertion of a fake national emergency is intended as to distract from this larger attack on America. No matter. Both threaten the essence of the nation.

There is only one answer: Donald Trump must be removed from office. Impeachment should start immediately.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 19, 2019, 09:27 PM (1 replies)

Even Fox News Is Now Saying That Trump Is Committing Crimes


Posted on Tue, Feb 19th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Even Fox News Is Now Saying That Trump Is Committing Crimes
It has become so obvious that even Trump’s favorite cable news network, Fox News is saying that he is committing crimes.

Fox News is talking about Trump committing crimes

Judge Andrew Napolitano and Shep Smith had this exchange on Fox News:

Napolitano: President Trump, if “The New York Times” is correct, wanted his ally to be in charge of both of those investigations. Matt Whitaker, to his credit, apparently did not execute that command.

Smith: But that — that phone call, you said that’s evidence of corrupt intent.

Napolitano: On the part of the president because he’s making a —

Smith: Would that be obstruction?

Napolitano: Yes. It would be attempted obstruction. It would only be obstruction if it succeeded. If you try to interfere with a criminal prosecution that may knock at your own door by putting your ally in there, that is clearly an attempt to obstruct justice.


Talk of Trump obstruction of justice is everywhere

Attempting to obstruct justice is a crime. Obstructing justice is a crime. Trump replied to The New York Times story about his ongoing and extensive campaign to attack law enforcement and obstruct justice as “fake news,” but even Fox News is talking about how Trump is engaging in criminal activity. The discussion has reached the point where it is assumed even among the president’s own defenders that he has engaged in criminal activity.

Trump watches Fox News religiously, watching Fox is the only thing that Trump does religiously, and even his favorite TV channel is talking about how he is breaking the law. The situation has gotten so bad for Trump and the Republican Party that even parts of Fox News can no longer deny the dire reality that is the future for Trump and the GOP.

Fox News can no longer save Donald Trump.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 19, 2019, 07:21 PM (13 replies)

60% of Americans Want Trump Sued For 'National Emergency'


Posted on Tue, Feb 19th, 2019 by Jason Easley
60% of Americans Want Trump Sued For ‘National Emergency’
Americans overwhelmingly disagree with Trump’s fake national emergency, and they want him sued for his actions.

Americans Hate The Wall and Trump’s ‘National Emergency’

According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll:
–61 percent disapprove, 36 percent approve Trump declaring a national emergency to build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border. (85 percent of Republicans approve, 84 percent of Democrats disapprove, 63 percent of independents disapprove)

–60 percent think his decision should be challenged in the courts, including 60 percent of independents

–58 percent do not think there is a national emergency at the border. (84 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Trump supporters think there is. Democrats and independents don’t.)

–57 percent think Trump is misusing his presidential power. (89 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents think he is, while 80 percent of Republicans don’t).

The ‘National Emergency’ Is All About Trump’s Base

Trump said during his rambling Rose Garden announcement on February 15 that the declaration of a ‘national emergency’ to get his wall had nothing to do with keeping a campaign promise to his supporters, but the poll shows that decision was all about pleasing his base. Donald Trump is really bad at electoral math because instead of taking actions that could expand the pool of voters who might support him in 2020, this president has chosen to appeal only to the 36%-38% of the electorate that makes up his base of support.

In a two-candidate 2020 general election, Trump won’t be able to win with 36% of the vote.

Republicans have been warning Trump about this reality, but he refuses to listen.

The NPR/PBS/Marist poll says it all. 60% is against this president. Every action he takes only serves to dig the hole deeper. By appealing only to his base, Trump is losing ground for 2020, as a president who governs for only some of the people is destined to fail.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 19, 2019, 07:03 PM (4 replies)

Man Gets 12 Years in Prison for Starting California Wildfire


Man Gets 12 Years in Prison for Starting California Wildfire

The man who admitted to igniting a Southern California wildfire that tore through 13,000 acres and forced 7,000 to evacuate has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. Brandon McGlover changed his plea last Thursday, admitting he was guilty of starting the Cranston Fire in July 2018. A preliminary hearing in November revealed evidence that he used a barbecue lighter and a can of WD-40 to start the nine fires that raged through Idyllwild, Anza, and Sage in Riverside County. He pleaded guilty to two charges of arson of wildland and one enhancement of multiple destroyed structures. On top of his prison sentence, McGlover will be required to register as an arsonist for the rest of his life and must pay restitution to victims. McGlover, 33, was arrested on the same afternoon the fires broke out and had been held on $3.5 million bail since that time.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Feb 19, 2019, 09:16 AM (2 replies)
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