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Goal Thermometer

All 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates are on the ballot this fall, and Democrats are running in a record-setting 88 of them. Currently, the GOP controls the chamber with a 66-34 majority, and flipping 17 seats is a virtually unheard-of lift in a single cycle, especially when Republicans have gerrymandered the state House map to such an extreme degree.

But you can’t win if you don’t compete, and Democrats across the state have responded to Trump’s election by stepping forward to bring the fight to the GOP at the ballot box. In the commonwealth, the resistance has manifested in Democratic candidates signing up to take on Republican incumbents in every corner of the state, from rural Southwest Virginia to the rapidly growing suburbs and exurbs of Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia.

A record number of primaries this year resulted in strong, battle-tested candidates—and women make up more than half of this contingent of challengers. Indeed, 30 of the 54 Democrats taking on Republican incumbents this fall are women.

Daily Kos is pleased to roll out our first slate of endorsed Virginia House candidates—three women who will bring a much-needed perspective to the state capitol in Richmond. Hala Ayala, Debra Rodman, and Danica Roem are running in competitive districts and can help break the GOP’s stranglehold on the state House.

Help these three amazing women lead the resistance all the way to the Virginia House—contribute $3 to their campaigns today!

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has widened his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Mueller is looking into Trump's financial dealings with with unsavory Russian businessman, including mobsters and corrupt Kremlin officials.

Mueller has his work cut out for him -- the August/September issue of The New Republic has an in-depth article about Trump's "decades-long ties to Russian mafia." Only someone brainwashed by ideology could read this article and not think Trump has been up to no good for a very long time.

From The New Republic's press release:

In “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” veteran journalist Craig Unger details how the Russian mafia has used the president’s properties—including Trump Tower and the Trump Taj Majal—as a way to launder money and hide assets. “Whether Trump knew it or not,” writes Unger, “Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base of operations for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, it is fair to say, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States.”

Based entirely on the extensive public record, the piece offers the most comprehensive overview of the deep debt that the president owes the Russian mafia. “The extent of Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia—and the degree to which he relied on them for his entire business model—is striking,” says Eric Bates, editor of the New Republic. “After reading this story, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the president continues to exhibit a deep loyalty to the world of shady Russian operatives who have invested vast sums in his properties.”

Trump's lawyer says the new direction Mueller is moving leads to a forbidden zone. From Bloomberg:

John Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers, said on Thursday that he was unaware of the inquiry into Trump’s businesses by the two-months-old investigation and considered it beyond the scope of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be examining.

“Those transactions are in my view well beyond the mandate of the Special counsel; are unrelated to the election of 2016 or any alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and most importantly, are well beyond any Statute of Limitation imposed by the United States Code,” he wrote in an email.

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader shares a report: Google is adding a personalised Facebook-style news feed to its homepage -- Google.com -- to show users content they may be interested in before they search. It will display news stories, features, videos and music chosen on the basis of previous searches by the same user. Users will also be able to click a "follow" button on search results to add topics of interest to their feed. One analyst said the move would help Google compete with rivals. "Google has a strong incentive to make search as useful as possible," said Mattia Littunen, a senior research analyst at Enders Analysis. "Facebook's news feed is one of its main rivals. It is competing with other ways of accessing content."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by msmash

Apple, Google and Microsoft are sitting on a mountain of cash -- and most of it is stashed far away from the taxman. Those three tech behemoths held a total of $464 billion in cash at the end of last year, according to a Moody's report published this week. From a report: Apple alone had a stunning quarter-trillion dollars of cash thanks to years of gigantic profits and few major acquisitions. That's enough money to buy Netflix three times. It's also more cash than what's sitting on the balance sheet of every major industry except tech and health care. All told, non-financial U.S. companies studied by Moody's hoarded $1.84 trillion of cash at the end of last year. That's up 11% from 2015 and nearly two and a half times the 2008 level. Roughly $1.3 trillion -- 70% of the total -- is being held overseas, where the money isn't subject to U.S. taxes. Apple, Google owner Alphabet, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle hold 88% of their cash overseas. Moody's said the tower of money stashed abroad reflects the "negative tax consequences of permanently repatriating money to the U.S."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by John Aravosis

The Congressional Budget Office released yet another analysis of yet another Republican Obamacare repeal plan, and this time the numbers are still awful.

According to CBO, 22 million fewer Americans will have insurance under the Senate Republican plan (the plan passed by the House GOP will lead to 23 million uninsured), and while premiums will drop over ten years for younger Americans, for older Americans (age 50 and up) they’re likely to soar. And finally, deductibles for the benchmark plan will soar to $13,000!

Most troubling, for me, CBO noted that premiums may soar for older Americans. That’s because under Obamacare, premiums for older Americans can only be three times as much as those charged younger Americans. Under the Republican plan, premiums for people age 50 and up can be five times more than those for younger Americans. That’s a potential 66% increase in premiums right there.

Last night, I reported on the new CBO numbers for the simple repeal plan that the GOP was considering yesterday. Those numbers were god-awful, with 32 million uninsured and premiums doubling.

This latest CBO “score,” as we call it, is for earlier Senate plan they were considering, minus the Cruz Amendment (which would have let insurers have Obamacare-compliant and non-Obamacare compliant plans, thus leading healthy people to buy the cheaper (and much worse) non-Obamacare plans, and making the Obamacare cares that much more expensive for anyone with a pre-existing condition).

Here is what the latest CBO analysis had to say about how badly the GOP bill treats older Americans (those age 50-64 — at 65 you get Medicare):

The effects on premiums would vary in different areas of the country. Also, even though average premiums for benchmark plans would decline, some people enrolled in nongroup insurance would experience substantial increases in the net premiums that they paid for insurance. For example, under this legislation, 64-year-olds could be charged five times as much as 21-year-olds, CBO and JCT expect, compared with three times as much under current law—resulting in higher premiums for most older people….

For older people not eligible for premium tax credits, net premiums (after taking into account the tax savings from paying premiums from a health savings account) could be more than five times larger than those for younger people in many states, rather than only three times larger under current law. Because of such differences, CBO and JCT estimate that, under this legislation, a larger share of enrollees in the nongroup market would be younger people and a smaller share would be older people than would be the case under current law.

CBO also notes that deductibles will soar under the GOP plan:

Under this legislation, for a single policyholder purchasing an illustrative benchmark plan (with an actuarial value of 58 percent) in 2026, the deductible for medical and drug expenses combined would be roughly $13,000, the agencies estimate.

This compares to a $5,000 deductible under a benchmark plan under current law.

A $13,000 annual deductible before your benefits even kick in? Dear lord!

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Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:00 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Guest Reviewer

A

Dukes Prefer Blondes

by Loretta Chase
December 29, 2015 · Avon

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Middleclassmanhattan. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Long Historical category.

The summary:

Biweekly marriage proposals from men who can’t see beyond her (admittedly breathtaking) looks are starting to get on Lady Clara Fairfax’s nerves. Desperate to be something more than ornamental, she escapes to her favorite charity. When a child is in trouble, she turns to tall, dark, and annoying barrister Oliver Radford.

Though he’s unexpectedly found himself in line to inherit a dukedom, Radford’s never been part of fashionable society, and the blonde beauty, though not entirely bereft of brains, isn’t part of his plans. But Clara overwhelms even his infallible logic, and when wedlock looms, all he can do is try not to lose his head over her . . .

It’s an inconvenient marriage by ordinary standards, but these two are far from ordinary. Can the ton’s most adored heiress and London’s most difficult bachelor fall victim to their own unruly desires?

Here is Middleclassmanhattan's review:

The hardest part of writing this review was trying to remember the actual name of the book. Dukes Prefer Blondes hints at nothing in this story, save for the fact our heroine is blonde. The title itself is unremarkable.

However, Ms. Chase delivers a book that is anything but! Filled with vibrant characters, witty dialogue, Dukes Prefer Blondes was a delight to read and a truly memorable love story. This was my first Loretta Chase book, and I understand why she has a great fan base, and why beloved author Julia Quinn is quoted on the cover.

To start with, the hero and heroine are equal parts intriguing, sexy, and quirky. You have your rich heroine, Lady Clara Fairfax, who wants to make a difference in society, and if she marries at all, Clara wants to marry someone who appreciates her intellect. And you have your genius Sherlock Holmes-like hero, Oliver Radford (known as Raven), who doesn’t have outrageous wealth (yet) but is building a standout career, and he doesn’t want anything to get in his way, most especially an illogical, emotional relationship. Our hero and heroine end up, after several adventures, with a heart-warming HEA. Perhaps that sounds as memorable as the title? Oh, but you would be wrong! Ms. Chase knows the magic formula for creating a HEA unique and memorable.

This review could be ten pages long explaining everything that appealed to me about Ms. Chase’s writing style and this particular book, but I’ve decided to limit my gushing and highlight three elements in particular, which for me, make it stand apart from other historical romances.

The first and most gratifying is the chemistry between the hero and heroine, which comes across through their amusing dialogue. Each Lady Clara and Raven scene is filled with quick-paced, charming banter. It reminds me of my favorite couple from the old TV detective series Remington Steele. The dialogue says that they find each other aggravating, but the subtext is altogether different. Here’s a typical example of the couple’s back-and-forth:

After a moment’s hesitation, he took the maid’s chair. “You must try to take nourishment,” he told his patient. “You must do exactly as I say, and get well, because I’ve promised you would and if you don’t, I shall be disgraced, and then—”

“I know. Your career will be ruined. You’re so charming.”

“Everybody says that,” he said.

“No, they don’t. Never. No one has ever said that about you in all your life, I’ll wager anything.”

“Perhaps they did not exactly say charming,” he said. “Perhaps… Yes, now I recollect, the phrase was ‘tolerable in very small doses’.”

“And yet I missed you,” she said. “Fancy that.”

She made it so difficult to stay detached. At this moment, it was impossible. He couldn’t stop his other self from getting a word in. “I missed you, too,” he said gruffly.

“Of course you did,” she said. “Because I’m so lovable.”

“You’re not lovable,” he said. “You are excessively annoying. And managing. But I’m accustomed to hardened criminals and half-witted judges, and being with you reminds me of home at the Old Bailey.”

Such a smile, then, more like her usual one.

How can you not look forward to reading more about this couple? Especially since Raven’s dialogue often had me thinking of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes.

In addition to the couple’s chemistry, I thoroughly enjoyed the well-thought-out subplots, which contribute to the rich character development. Ms. Chase certainly uses the subplots to push her characters together, but she also takes it a step further. She uses them to flesh out each main character so completely that you cheer for Clara as an individual, and you cheer for Raven as an individual, and then you cheer even more for them to become a couple.

For example, the subplot involving the bad guy and his attempts to kill Raven could be a stand-alone book as they add so much suspense, but while you’re wondering what’s going to happen next, you are also learning all about Raven’s law career. And like the master magician she clearly is, each of Ms. Chase’s subplots give the reader insight into Lady Clara and Raven’s characters while keeping the reader highly entertained (the mock courtroom scene involving Radford and Lady Clara’s parents is certainly a delightful highlight). There is no chapter, no moment in the story that isn’t making the reader fall in love with the main characters. Ms. Chase even makes the secondary characters and the scenes without Raven and Clara intriguing and fast-paced enough that I didn’t skip ahead to when the two main characters were back in the same scene. (And, yes, my iPhone-addled, lack-of-focus brain lacks patience for parts of a story that bore me after a page.)

The subplots are filled with period detail, which is the third standout element in this story that I wanted to mention. Ms. Chase injects the story with enough factual history to leave you with more than just a taste of the time period without pulling you out of your happy escapist-romance-novel-reading time. In addition to the imagery and attention to period detail evident throughout the book, each chapter begins with a quote or a short excerpt of a piece published from the period.

DUKE, in Latin Dux, à ducendo, signifying the leader of an army, noblemen being anciently either generals and commanders of armies in time of war, or wardens of marches, and governors of provinces in peace. This is now the first rank of the nobility. —Debrett’s Peerage, 1831

Ms. Chase draws you into the time period a little deeper with these excerpts, as if she were saying to you directly, “You know this is the type of thing Raven and Lady Clara would be familiar with, dealing with, etc.” I appreciated the added whisper of historical flavor. I even found myself Googling some of the books quoted.

The dialogue, the subplots, and the attention to period detail combined to make this a memorable story for me. But of course, no romance novel review would be complete without a comment on the sex scenes. I was half-way through the book before I realized there had been no sex yet, and even then it barely registered as the story is so engaging. Ms. Chase spends time creating sexual tension, so when you get to the sex scenes you won’t be disappointed.

I would give Dukes Prefer Blondes a solid A, and I look forward to reading the other books in the Dressmaker series.

And finally, my dear romancelandia readers, forgive me if this review reads like a fourth grader’s book report. After finishing such a rewarding, heart-warming, thoughtful, well-crafted story, all I really wanted to do was jump up and down, wave my arms, and shout, “Read it!” With that said, I’ll end with the most important part of the review: “Read it! Read it! Just read it!”


Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase received a B in a previous review by Carrie.

[syndicated profile] dailykos_feed

Congressional Republicans like to every now and then pretend that they’re above Donald Trump’s crudeness, his abuse of power, his Russia ties. But they’ll go along with all of that as long as he’s helping them deliver their agenda by stripping health coverage from tens of millions of people and cutting taxes on the wealthy. Which means that right now, Republicans are starting to have more of a problem with Trump—because he’s not helping them pass legislation to hurt working Americans.

"I don't even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don't care. They're a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction," complained Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). "At first, it was 'Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He'll learn, he'll learn.' And you just don't see that happening."

Also, congressional Republicans are totally not afraid of Trump and his pressure to pass Trumpcare … as they’ll say anonymously.

A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wanted to preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, put it more bluntly. The president, he said, scares no one in the Senate, not even the pages.

But the thing is, they don’t need to be afraid of Trump to do terrible things. The Republican agenda is filled with terrible things intended to hurt working people and make the rich richer. Congressional Republicans’ allegiance to Trump is precisely because they think he’ll help them do that. Their problem with him comes if he won’t or can’t make that happen.

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Carla Sinclair

The complexities of how health insurance works in the United States proves to be too much for Donald Trump. He's even having a hard time grasping how much it costs. In Wednesday's New York Times interview, Trump said that health insurance costs a mere $1 per month. "Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan."

That would be nice, but unfortunately he's got it wrong. According to Fortune:

There are several issues with that statement. For one, private health insurance definitely does not cost $12 per year at any age. (The government Medicaid program is only allowed to have nominal premiums, but that's limited to the poor and disabled.) During the first two months of open enrollment for Obamacare in 2017, the average monthly premium for an individual insurance plan was $393. For 18-to-24-year olds, that figure was $219 per month. Now, that's before federal subsidies kick in (and the vast majority of Obamacare enrollees receive those subsidies)—but even with the most generous subsidies, monthly premiums likely wouldn't be much less than $80 to $100, even for younger, less medically costly Americans.

And no, he didn't mean young people who are covered by their employers. Again from Fortune:

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the average single employee contribution toward a employer-sponsored health plan in 2015 was $1,255, or about $105 per month. Employers on average kicked in another $4,708 toward workers' health coverage over the year.

As is typical of people with an arrogance level as high as Trump's, he couldn't help but brag to the Times about his smarts on the topic. "[Y]ou know, a lot of the papers were saying – actually, these [Senators] couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care." A lot less bragging and even more learning would be nice for us all.

Image: Michael Vadon

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

A young antelope harbors a vicious grudge against this guy, who seems to be half-scared, half-amused by the tiny angry ungulate. The only way he can restrain it is by grabbing it by the horns. He makes a half-hearted attempt to use a towel like a bullfighter's cape, but that doesn't work very well. Hiding behind a pole is a slightly better tactic. The video ends before we find out who wins.

This antelope is savage from AnimalsBeingJerks

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

Toronto officials are hopping mad that a rogue DIYer built a flight of stairs in community park for $550 instead of allowing the city to contract it out to a builder at a cost of $65,000-$150,000. Adi Astl, a retired mechanic, said he decided to build the stairs because several neighbors had taken a tumble down the steep path leading to the park. Park visitors were able to enjoy the stairs for a short while until the city taped it off. The city says the stairs will have to be replaced with stairs that meet regulations.

Obviously, the city needs to do something about this for insurance reasons alone. But I'll bet they could work with Mr. Astl to make a great, code-complying flight of stairs for a lot less than $65,000.

Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours.

Astl’s wife, Gail Rutherford, says the stairs have already been a big help to people who routinely take that route through the park. “I’ve seen so many people fall over that rocky path that was there to begin with,” she said. “It’s a huge improvement over what was there.”

Astl says members of his gardening group have been thanking him for taking care of the project, especially after one of them broke her wrist falling down the slope last year.

“To me, the safety of people is more important than money,” Astl said. “So if the city is not willing to do it, I have to do it myself.”

City bylaw officers have taped off the stairs while officials make a decision on what to do with it. However, Astl has not been charged with any sort of violation.

Mayor John Tory acknowledged that the city estimate sounds “completely out of whack with reality” on Wednesday. However, he says that still doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to bypass city bylaws to build public structures themselves.

“I think everyone will understand that it will be more than $550,” he said on Wednesday. “We just can’t have people decide to go out to Home Depot and build a staircase in a park because that’s what they would like to have.”

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

A screw with a stripped head can be difficult to remove.

There are a number of ways to remove screws with stripped heads. Lifehacker has a nice article on this subject.

My favorite method of removing a stuck/stripped screw is with a pair of screw removal pliers. They bite into the exposed sides of the screw head and you can twist the screw loose, then finish the job with a screwdriver. It's also a nice brute-force workaround for tamper-proof screw heads. This is the kind of tool you want to have in your toolbox now, instead of having to run out and buy one when it's needed.

If the screw is really stuck, you risk breaking the head off the screw. If that happens, all is not lost. You can try to drill a small hole into the center of the screw shaft and pull out the screw with a screw extractor.

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Jason Weisberger

My iPhone 7+ did a faceplant into gravel. There were 3 deep impacts but the screen saver took all the damage.

I'm a big fan of these tempered glass screen savers. I've been replacing iPhone screens with increasing frequency over the years, and these glass overlays are much cheaper.

The tempered glass does break in instances where the screen would not have, however I'm certain the damage it has fended off has saved me lots of time at the Apple store.

I generally prefer a naked phone, in all its sleek minimalist glory, but my daughter insists I take better care of the devices she'll inherit.

OMOTON tempered glass screen protectors via Amazon

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by David Pescovitz

This is deeply weird but also makes perfect sense. Wow.

Created by Ursinarium, inspired by Josh Billinson's tweet:

(image from Break.com)

We Resist: Day 182

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:15 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Hands Putin Another Gift and On Trump's Latest Interview with the NYT.

REMINDER: KEEP CALLING YOUR SENATORS TO TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON REPEALING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis, and Shannon Pettypiece at Bloomberg: Trump Urges Senate GOP to Delay Recess as Health Talks Revived. "Donald Trump told Senate Republicans Wednesday they should stay in Washington until they repeal Obamacare, sparking renewed negotiations just two days after GOP efforts to enact a new health-care law collapsed. A group of about 20 Republican senators met at the Capitol Wednesday night with White House officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, to hash out possible paths forward, including reviving a measure proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell."

I'm going to say this one more time: DO NOT BELIEVE REPORTS THAT THE REPEAL IS DEAD. How many times now have we heard that Republican healthcare reform is "dead"? We heard it when the House bill failed the first time — only for them to rally and pass a bill. We heard it when the Senate bill failed the first time — only for them to rally and try a second time. We heard it after the Senate bill failed the second time — and now here they are rallying again. If they can't replace it, they'll just repeal it. THIS IS NOT OVER. Not even close.

Kyle Cheney and Rachael Bade at Politico: Freedom Caucus to Try to Force Vote on Obamacare Repeal. "House conservatives are launching a late effort to force their colleagues to vote on an outright repeal of Obamacare. Leaders of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday evening will jump-start a process intended to force the measure — a mirror of the 2015 repeal proposal that President Barack Obama vetoed — to the floor as early as September."

See? And trust that they will stoop to levels we haven't even begun to contemplate in order to take away people's healthcare.

To wit: Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Team Trump Used Obamacare Money to Run PR Effort Against It. "The Trump administration has spent taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it. ...'I'm on a daily basis horrified by leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services who seem intent on taking healthcare away from the constituents they are supposed to serve,' former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with The Daily Beast." Disgusting behavior.

In service of a disgusting objective:


* * *


Welp! This is about to get very interesting, for a whole lot of reasons, not least of which is that Trump might now try to fire Mueller. Fucking hell.

* * *

CBS/AP: Russia Says Talks Underway on Joint U.S. Cybersecurity Unit. "A Russian official was quoted by the country's government-run media on Thursday as saying Moscow and the U.S. government were in talks about establishing a joint cybersecurity unit — a prospect first raised, and then seemingly dismissed by [Donald] Trump after he met with Vladimir Putin. The RIA news agency said Russia's special envoy on cybersecurity Andrey Krutskikh confirmed that talks were underway to create a bilateral working group, and acknowledging that it could create a 'problem' for [Donald] Trump. Krutskikh was quoted as saying, 'there is no need to dramatize the working process, it is undoubtedly difficult, taking into account the current American realities, but this is a problem rather of the U.S. administration, not ours.'" WOW.


Margaret Hartmann at NY Mag: Paul Manafort Owed Millions to Pro-Russia Interests. "Before becoming Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort owed as much as $17 million to pro-Russia interests, according to financial records from Cyprus. ...One of the more interesting debts is $7.8 million owed to Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Deripaska has previously claimed that Manafort and his associates owed him $19 million for a failed investment in a Ukrainian TV company." The question is: Did Manafort repay those debts by selling the White House? (Spoiler alert: Probably!)


Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Not Deep Throat: The Trump Scandal Figure Who's Too Open for His Own Good. "[Carter Page] is one of a handful of former Trump campaign hands reported to be under federal scrutiny for his ties to Russia... Page is not concerned about the prospect of legal consequences for his foreign contacts. 'There's nothing to hide,' Page said, reiterating that he sat for over 10 hours of interviews with FBI agents without a lawyer present and is relying on unnamed 'volunteers' for legal advice." This fucking guy.

* * *

Trump is slowly starting to fill a few of the multitudinous vacancies in his administration, and the choices are exactly what you'd expect.

Rebecca Kheel at the Hill: Trump to Nominate Raytheon Lobbyist for Army Secretary.

Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney at the Washington Post: Trump Just Nominated a Climate Change Skeptic to USDA's Top Science Post.

Maureen Groppe at the Indianapolis Star: [CN: video may autoplay] Trump Picks Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney for USDA Post.


Everything is fine.

* * *

Oh, hey, here's a pretty good reason why everything is not fucking fine: The Republican-controlled legislative branch refuses to provide checks and balances on the president, and Trump is busily reshaping the judiciary so that they won't, while also waging war on the press so that they can't, either.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH — Burgess Everett and Rachael Bade at Politico: Republicans Lament an Agenda in 'Quicksand'. "'I don't even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don't care. They're a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction,' complained Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). 'At first, it was 'Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He'll learn, he'll learn.' And you just don't see that happening.'" So ignore him, rather than hold him accountable? Cool.

JUDICIAL BRANCH — Ronald A. Klain at the Washington Post: The One Area Where Trump Has Been Wildly Successful. "[While Donald] Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers. ...He not only put Neil M. Gorsuch in the Supreme Court vacancy created by Merrick Garland's blocked confirmation, but he also selected 27 lower-court judges as of mid-July. Twenty-seven! That's three times Obama's total and more than double the totals of Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton — combined. For the Courts of Appeals — the final authority for 95 percent of federal cases — no president before Trump named more than three judges whose nominations were processed in his first six months; Trump has named nine. Trump is on pace to more than double the number of federal judges nominated by any president in his first year."


(As you may recall, I've been frantically and repeatedly raising the alarm about Trump's 100 federal court vacancies for quite some time. Also: I would stake a fuckload of pennies on Pence running the court appointments, which means that this problem isn't even solved if Trump is removed from office.)

PRESS — [CN: Video may autoplay at link] Jacqueline Alemany at CBS News: For Details of Trump's Meetings, Foreign Governments Fill in the Blanks. "When news broke that [Donald] Trump had chatted with Russia President Vladimir Putin in a previously undisclosed meeting for an hour at the G-20 summit in Germany, it was another reminder that much of the information about the president's whereabouts and policymaking comes from sources outside the White House. ...Since Mr. Trump took office in January, White House reporters — and by extension the American public — have on more than this occasion received more detailed information about the president's conversations and whereabouts from foreign governments rather than from official channels in Washington."

* * *

There is literally so much awful news today, I feel like I've barely begun to scratch the service, but I've got to draw a line under it somewhere, so I can get it posted. As always, please crowdsource the resistance and share what you've been reading that I missed!

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

awake! awake!

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:17 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Remember the 17th Amendment, the one that made it possible for you to elect your Senators instead of having them chosen by power brokers and current Senators? ALEC -- the American Legislative Executive Council, a far-right pressure group designed to influence legislation their way -- and the Koch brothers want this changed. They want to go back to having Senators chosen by other Senators. Which is not a good thing for any of us. This is a Bill Moyers story -- read it.

Okay, this next one needs a little history. In the Constitution, war powers are given to the Senate: only the Senate, on majority vote, can declare war. George W. Bush managed to get war powers transferred to him, I think in the Patriot Act. A Dept. of Defense appropriations bill was approved that included removing war powers from the President, giving them back to the Senate. After it was approved, Paul Ryan took that wording out of the bill, which had been given bipartisan approval.

ETA: A scientist blows the whistle on the Trumpists moving scientists to non-science jobs in the hope they'll quit, while leaving their previous useful positions unfilled.

***

A Friend from my Meeting is walking, biking and rowing/paddling the US. Here's his blog, about his journeys.

The finding of a 14,000-year-old settlement verifies the land claim of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Canada.

Armed redneck lefties fight fascism.

<ahref="https://news.vice.com/story/marble-helped-scholars-whitewash-ancient-history?utm_source=tcpfbus">Marble helped scholars whitewash ancient history.

September 2015

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