Friday, February 22, 2019
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(Nick Anderson, Washington Post Writers Group)
(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)
(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)
(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
What is it about the Fux / Trump TV channel that attracts sexual predators and abusers? From ranter Bill O'Liely to Roger "Jabba The Nut" Ailes, they have a track record unmatched elsewhere. Now, add far-right unhinged shrink Keith "Blows" Ablow, who has been accused by three female patients in the past year of sexually abusing them while under his "care." The details at the link are pretty disgusting, with Blows alleged to have sexually humiliated the victims, slapping them and telling them he "owned them," among other claims. One said Blows convinced her to get a tattoo with his initials to prove his "ownership" of her. Sadly for Blows, there are also witnesses, including former co-workers:
"Three former co-workers of Ablow’s reportedly filed affidavits supporting the patients’ claims, and also accusing Ablow of sexual harassment. Amy Dixon, a former staffer, told the newspaper she had an on-and-off sexual relationship where he would hit her and tell her he wanted a 'master/slave relationship' with her. She claimed that Ablow pointed a gun directly at her during sex at one point, and their encounters often left 'bruises and abrasions.'"He sounds like a sick monster with fascist domineering tendencies. In the past, he's "diagnosed" former President Obama as hating America and sneered that former First Lady Michelle Obama needed to lose weight, more signs of his simmering racism. Now he'll face the justice he deserves.
Late, great Beatle George Harrison would have celebrated his 76th birthday on February 25, so we want to feature two songs from his songwriting catalog today. Previously unreleased "Poor Little Girl" is from his "Best of Dark Horse" compilation album, released in 1989 on his Dark Horse label, and includes Jeff Lynne (ELO, Traveling Wilburys) playing bass and keyboards. "I Need You," of course, is from the Beatle's "Help!" album, and features him on both 12- string and acoustic guitars as well as lead vocal. It was one of the earliest Harrison compositions featured on a Beatles album and let the world know there was another songwriting genius in the band. Hope you enjoy.
North Carolina Republican vote fraudster (and evangelical "Christian" minister) Mark Harris abruptly changed course at yesterday's election board hearing and called for a new election in the state's 9th Congressional district, a request the bipartisan board was all too happy to declare after months of legal wrangling by Harris and the state's Republican Party to avoid a new election. So why did Harris suddenly abandon his previous stance against a new election, particularly amid overwhelming evidence of widespread absentee ballot fraud by his campaign? It seems, while Minister Mark was happy telling lies, his son (a federal prosecutor) wasn't:
The board’s decision capped a dramatic week that included testimony from Harris’s son, John Harris, a federal prosecutor, who said Wednesday that he warned his father in phone calls and emails that he believed [Leslie] Dowless had broken the law in a previous election and should not be hired for the 2018 campaign.
Mark Harris hired Dowless anyway.
In one email exchange displayed during John Harris’s testimony, father and son discussed whether to hire Dowless. The younger Harris wrote: “Good test is if you’re comfortable with the full process he uses being broadcast on the news.”
In his testimony Thursday, the elder Harris maintained as he had in interviews with reporters that he was unaware of red flags about the operative’s alleged tactics — notwithstanding what his son told him in spring 2017. [snip]
[Josh] Lawson, the board counsel, asked Harris if he had told anyone this week that he did not expect his email exchanges with John Harris to be made public in the hearing. Harris said four times that he did not recall.
After the fourth time, Harris’s lawyer, Freedman, abruptly stood up and asked to speak to the five-member board in private.
When the board reconvened, Harris took the stand again and explained that he had been mistaken about that recollection — and had in fact told his younger son, Matthew, in the phone conversation Tuesday evening, that he did not expect those emails to surface the next day.
Harris said the episode made him realize that he was not prepared for the “rigors” of the evidentiary hearing. He called for a new election, then promptly excused himself from the proceeding and walked out. (our emphasis)To Harris, the "rigors" of the evidentiary hearing equal "telling the truth." He should walk directly into jail. (No one's betting Harris will be on the ballot in the re- do.)
North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper now has two Congressional elections to schedule: the re- do in the 9th, and one in the 3rd District to fill the seat of Republican Walter Jones who recently passed away.
(Photo: Republican con men Trump and Harris)
Federal Judge Kenneth Marra ruled yesterday that the Federal prosecutorial team led by now-Labor Secretary Alex Acosta broke the law in concealing a plea agreement from 30 juvenile victims of sex trafficker and hedge fund mogul Jeffrey Epstein. The judge ordered prosecutors to confer with the victims and their attorneys within 15 days to determine whether they want to pursue a settlement. From the Miami Herald's excellent and detailed report:
"Marra, in a 33-page opinion, said prosecutors not only violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by not informing the victims, they also misled the girls into believing that the FBI’s sex trafficking case against Epstein was still ongoing — when in fact, prosecutors had secretly closed it after sealing the plea bargain from the public record. [snip]
Instead of prosecuting Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, Acosta allowed Epstein to quietly plead guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and he served just 13 months in the Palm Beach County jail. His accomplices, some of whom have never been identified, were not charged." (our emphasis)The role of Acosta is particularly disgusting. He essentially acted as a lawyer for the defense in concealing information that would have helped the victims of Epstein. The matter has come to the attention of Congress, three dozen of whom have convinced the Justice Department to open an investigation of how Epstein's case was handled by Acosta and his team.
Epstein skated on more serious felony charges because of the influence wielded by his great wealth and his friendships with the likes of serial assaulter and pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump, his defender Alan Dershowitz, bonnie Prince Andrew, man-who-never-learns-his-lesson Bill Clinton, and many prominent world leaders and celebrities. Can anyone doubt that Acosta's elevation to Secretary of Labor was Rump's way of thanking him for protecting a friend...and a procurer?
(photo: Acosta, left, and Epstein)
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has heard the arguments for why degenerate veteran political ratf*cker and Zippy the Pinhead cosplayer Roger Stone should not be penalized in some way for his Instagram post that pictured Judge Jackson with a crosshairs by her head and his suggestions that she couldn't be an impartial judge given her appointment by President Obama. Stone knew exactly what he was doing, only he is used to operating outside the judicial sphere. Big mistake.
Jackson had numerous options, including another warning, a more restrictive gag order, and sending Stone to jail (where, in our opinion, he has always belonged). She decided on a strict gag order, after Stone kowtowed deeply to the Court, that would ban him from speaking publicly about his case. She said that:
"...she didn’t find the former Trump adviser’s defense credible, and that he “couldn’t keep his story straight on the stand” when she allowed him the opportunity to explain his decision to post an image of her on social media with what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun near her head."If he'd been tossed in jail for his attempt to tamper with the jury pool, he'd undoubtedly had cast himself as a martyr. Judge Jackson has given him one more chance to shut his vile mouth. We're hoping that he won't.
(photo: Rethuglican pervert Roger Stone)
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(Rob Rogers, robrogers.com)
(Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com)
(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
(Tom Toles, Washington Post)
(Chris Britt, Illinois Times)
After Russian asset and crime family boss Donald "Rump" Trump issued barely veiled threats to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, and with Cohen scheduled to testify to Congress next week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi decided that now's a good time to fire a shot across Rump's large bow:
Michael Cohen will come before the @OversightDems & @HouseIntel Committees next week. Congress has an independent duty under the Constitution to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, and any efforts to intimidate family members or pressure witnesses will not be tolerated. https://t.co/VDc6zE6lwH— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 21, 2019
Here's something else. We know that Rump is obsessed with TV ratings, so Cohen's testimony (which will be very entertaining) will be competing at times with Rump's vacuous grip-and-grin show with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi. With Rump desperate to look like a world leader while Kim plays him like a broken violin, the embarrassment of Cohen whipping him in the ratings will be icing on Speaker Pelosi's cake.
Yesterday's report that a white supremacist Coast Guard lieutenant was planning mass killings of Dem politicians and journalists at odds with demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump is another sign that the right-wing Trumpist world is being incited to violence by the atmosphere he has created.
Consider some key examples of the times Rump's rhetoric has led to tragedy and near-tragedy:
-- KKK and American Nazis march in Charlottesville in August 2017 chanting "Jews will not replace us" and one of them rams his car into counter-protestors, killing one and maiming others. Rump then praises "very fine people" on "both sides;"Rump's recent "enemy of the people" attack on the New York Times followed their article regarding his attempts to derail the investigation by the Southern District of New York into him and his crime organization. There are numerous articles documenting his blatant incitements over time, for example, here, here, and here.
-- a Florida thug who has decorated his van with Rump decals sends pipe bombs to people that Rump has identified as "enemies" last October;
-- soon after the MAGAbomber, a shooter believing that the "caravan" of immigrants was "invading" the country shoots up a Pittsburgh synagogue because it had provided support to immigrant families;
-- at the recent rally in El Paso, Rump launches into an attack on the media, following which one MAGA thug attacked a crew member from the BBC. His anti-media rhetoric has caused the press to be shielded behind fencing to protect them from Rump's cult at rallies.
Too many innocent people have been killed and hurt already by the atmosphere of hate and paranoia Rump has actively created, and more people are going to get killed and hurt as he continues in his reckless, sinister attacks.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Can't let the day pass without wishing megastar Rihanna a very happy 31st birthday. The Barbados-born singer and composer has been honored with 9 Grammys, 13 American Music Awards, and 12 Billboard Music Awards while selling a staggering 250 million albums worldwide. She's also a humanitarian, having raised many millions of dollars for charity, including cancer research, HIV/AIDS, and childhood diseases. Here's her song "Love on the Brain" from three-times platinum album, "Anti."
Following up on our post below, this is from the media columnist at the Washington Post:
CNN’s hiring of a GOP operative as political editor is even worse than it looks. ...My column on what this terrible hire says about 2020 coverage, whether CNN has learned anything (no) and the defensive addiction to both-sides 'journalism' https://t.co/Uik4EjePDO— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) February 20, 2019
And more --
Qs @CNN needs to answer about hiring GOP operative Sarah Isgur to edit its political coverage:— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 20, 2019
1. Did Isgur sign a NDA while working for Trump?
2. What was Isgur's role in spreading the Seth Rich conspiracy?
3. Will Isgur have access to the identities of confidential sources?
Sorry, didn’t get the latest memo after 1,000 experienced + qualified journalists of all stripes were let go w/o warning a few weeks ago and still looking for work: are we still pretending that hires like these are evidence of a meritocracy? https://t.co/Qb9JNgcdT2— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 20, 2019
wild that so many people treat CNN's hire of Flores as some sort of black swan event and not a thing that's thoroughly in keeping with the organization's well-known level of institutional rot— Jason Linkins (@dceiver) February 19, 2019
Rethuglicans are masters at the game of "playing the refs," referring to a tactic used in sports to get the ref to rule for you by accusing him of bias for the opposing team. The "both sides" media "refs" have been played for years to such an extent that nutzoid policies and outright lies on the right are given equal air time with expert commentary and analysis (think climate change, for example).
Beyond their "both sides" disease, there must be a masochistic streak among CNN management, one of the major targets of the regime of demagogue and media-basher Donald "Rump" Trump. CNN announced the hiring of a former Rump regime official and career partisan wingnut Sarah Isgur to, incredibly, "coordinate political coverage" of the 2020 elections. Adding to the bizarre nature of the hire, Isgur's been highly critical of CNN over the years for their coverage:
CNN’s new political editor, Sarah Isgur, once referred to her future employer as the “Clinton News Network,” and has used false claims and conspiracies to demean Democrats.— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 19, 2019
She’ll coordinate the network’s 2020 coverage on TV and online. https://t.co/e5aqudAv1P
A quick review of Isgur's employment history demonstrates her far-right loyalties: staffer for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for the Rethuglican National Committee, for Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz, and senior official for the failed campaign of Carly "Snarly" Fiorina in 2016. Missing is a lack of journalistic experience. That should work out well. Here's a snippet from the linked Media Matters' article:
"According to The Washington Post, Sessions very much wanted to hire longtime Republican political operative Sarah Isgur as his chief spokeswoman, but she had 'criticized [President Donald] Trump, repeatedly, during the 2016 Republican primaries,' and thus her 'prospects for a Justice Department job stalled.' To break the logjam, the Post reported, Isgur paid Trump 'a cordial visit during which she told the president she was on board with his agenda and would be honored to serve him.'” (our emphasis)Aaron Rupar has a good summation of Isgur's offensive tweets, if you need even more of an insight into her thinking. Suffice it to say, her career path should lead to InfoWars, Breitbart or Fux. That she's been hired at CNN to coordinate their political coverage for f*ck sake demonstrates that there's apparently no one there in management even refereeing anymore.
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(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)
(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)
(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)
(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The parents of red hat student Nicholas "Smirk" Sandmann are going after the Washington Post for its coverage of the confrontation between their son and Native American activist Nathan Phillips near the Lincoln Memorial after an anti- abortion rally on January 19. They've filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against the newspaper, and it seems their motives are perfectly noble and non- political, just like precious little Smirk's behavior:
The suit alleges that The Post “targeted and bullied” 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann in order to embarrass President Trump. Sandmann was one of a number of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats during a trip to the Mall when they encountered Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist. [snip]
“In a span of three days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann, an innocent secondary school child,” reads the complaint.
It added, “The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.” (our emphasis)To add an exclamation point to their purely non- political, non- racist intentions, the Sandmanns' suit
... calls Phillips “a phony war hero [who] was too intimidated by the unruly Hebrew Israelites to approach them, the true troublemakers, and instead chose to focus on a group of innocent children.” (our emphasis)"Innocent children." Oh, the humanity!
Phillips, who served four years in the Marine Corps Reserve during the Vietnam War era, has never claimed to be a "war hero," though there's been some confusion about whether he ever claimed to be deployed to Vietnam. However, let's contrast that service to the Sandmann family's hero, 5- deferment Cadet Bone Spurs himself, Donald "Rump" Trump:
In a 1997 interview with shock jock Howard Stern, Trump talked about how he had been “lucky” not to have contracted diseases when he was sleeping around.
“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era,” Trump said in a video that resurfaced Tuesday on Buzzfeed, “It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”A wingnut site we won't link to claims the Sandmanns also will be suing Phillips over "lies." How very Catholic of them. We wonder what the life- lovin' Sandmanns' reaction would be if it turns out their hero, Cadet Bone Spurs, paid for multiple abortions over the years, something Michael Cohen might enlighten us on eventually (spoiler alert: they'd call it "fake news").
Unless the Sandmanns have very deep pockets, it would seem certain their noble, non- political lawsuit is being underwritten by the same gullible yahoos who underwrite most of these "conservatives are the real victims" actions. All the more reason to hope the Post prevails.
(Photo: Social media/ Reuters)
Social media was a major tool employed by Russia in the 2016 elections to harm Hillary Clinton and boost their asset, Donald "Rump" Trump. False narratives, conspiracy theories, innuendo and other means were used to discredit Clinton, who was seen by Moscow as a threat to their expansionist plans. As a consequence of their assistance to him, Rump has no interest in countering Russian cyber interference in the 2020 elections, and Politico reports that Russia's interference has already begun to target Dem candidates for the 2020 nomination:
"A POLITICO review of recent data extracted from Twitter and from other platforms, as well as interviews with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, suggests that the goal of the coordinated barrage appears to be undermining the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation, and distortions of their positions. But the divisive nature of many of the posts also hint at a broader effort to sow discord and chaos within the Democratic presidential primary. [snip]
Not all of the activity is organized. Much of it appears to be organic, a reflection of the politically polarizing nature of some of the candidates. But there are clear signs of a coordinated effort of undetermined size that shares similar characteristics with the computational propaganda attacks launched by online trolls at Russia’s Internet Research Agency in the 2016 presidential election, which special counsel Robert Mueller accused of aiming to undermine the political process and elevate Donald Trump." (our emphasis)The four candidates noted are Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, with Harris receiving the most attention. And it's not just candidates being slimed with false information, it's false information about voter fraud and immigration:
"A separate Guardians.ai study that looked at the 200-account group’s focus on voter fraud and false and/or misleading narratives about election integrity — published just before the midterm elections and co-authored by Horvath, Zach Verdin and Alicia Serrani — reported that the accounts generated or were mentioned in more than 140 million tweets over the prior year.The linked article is well worth a read. The findings in this report should be pursued by the FBI, if it's not already on the case, and the House Intelligence Committee. Russia clearly hasn't learned lessons from its interference in 2016, and Rump won't be teaching them any. It's time for a look at increased sanctions.
That cluster of accounts was the driving force behind an effort to aggressively advance conspiracy theories in the 2018 midterms, ranging from misinformation about voter fraud to narratives involving a caravan coming to the United States, and even advocacy of violence." (our emphasis)